European Elections, May 2019!
Europa: Union or Community?
Do you know Europa as community of people?
One thing is the EU as a political entity, that you may like more or less, or not like at all.
But how about Europa in a non-political sense, in fact, as a community? Our continent enjoys a rich diversity of peoples, cultures and languages. How well do you know the community of people within this political union you are living in?
To start with, how much interaction do you have with other europeans in your daily life?
- Which European countries have you ever visited?
- Have you ever lived, worked and/or studied in any of them? (say, a year or more)
- From our rich offer in languages which one(s) do you speak?
- And, very important, from which countries do you have friends or maybe even (had) a love?
It may seem a long list, but you can skip your own country and the countries that don't apply.
(the countries are subdivided in blocks of decreasing EU commitment (open borders, use of Euro), within that ordered by year of entry and then alphabetically - source 1, source 2)
Do you understand the European Union?
In theory, the European Union is an entity that exists for the good of its citizens. Therefore it seems obvious that, to begin with, EU inhabitants should actually understand it: knowing how it works, what advantages it offers or how they can actively participate to improve it, amongst other.
How well do you feel you understand the European Union?
There are some topics in the newspapers and on tv-news we receive information about every day. How do you rate their importance and how would information about the EU (news or how it works) compare to that?
What do you think of the European Union?
The opinion of the Europeans on the European Union, in the way it works now, is divided. Basically there are three points of view: stay (as it is), change or leave. They could be differentiated as EuroConformism, EuroCriticism and EuroScepticism.
At first glance, which statement best reflects your position right now?
The European Dream?
A fresh look at Europa?
Our world is facing many fundamental problems that exceed the capacity of individual countries to solve them. If we do not deal very quickly with these problems in a large-scale collective human effort, global society or even the planet itself may not reach the end of this century, at least not in a healthy way. In fact, a considerable part of the human and animal population, and disturbing portions of the Earth have already reached that point and do nothing but fight for their mere survival. The situation is becoming increasingly unstable and unsustainable.
Unfortunately, most people are so busy simply keeping up with daily life that they do not even find the time or energy to think about it, much less to act. Others prefer to avoid any worrying and choose to let themselves be distracted. And then there is a small but privileged number of people who benefit from all this and have the power to keep other people so occupied, distracted and even in that sorry state of mere survival.
Fortunately enough, small but growing groups of people all over the world are waking up to this reality. Each group faces it from one of the various perspectives, be it climate, ecology, evolution, a humanitarian or social approach, psychology, education, health and nutrition, science, art, sports, justice and sometimes even politics, law, business or economy.
Europa's colourful history is full of people from very diverse cultural backgrounds that have contributed to global society with brilliant and constructive inspirations: from Galilei and Newton to Tesla, Einstein or Bohr; from Dante or Cervantes to Voltaire and Kafka; from van Gogh and Mozart to Picasso and Freddy Mercury. Precisely in this diversity lies Europa's wealth and strength. It offers a far broader and richer basis for creativity and inspiration than is possible in a homogenious society where everybody eats the same food, has the same traditions and speaks the same language. Europa is an old tree with strong roots that carries many different and sometimes unexpected fruits.
Being also the territory of the world with the highest degree of freedom and justice, it is precisely in Europa where those innovative social groups sprout and grow more easily. At the same time, Europa also disposes of the essential resources, such as capital and knowledge. This makes Europa the place par excellence, possibly the only one, with enough potential to unleash the change that the world needs NOW to reach the 22st century in a healthy way.
But this change can only happen in a Europa that is truly united in diversity for and with its people. So not exactly this EU which essentially is just a political, monetary and market union where the representatives of each country are still mainly guided by national interests. It should be a Europa united by its conscientious citizens, in a human and social sense with a true spirit of "union", of coexistence and sharing. In fact, a community.
Europa's potential: its people and diverstity?
A better Europa for a better World?
Europa has a shamefully violent and savage past.
Within our own territory, we have practically always had one or more wars, except during the Pax Romana, about 2,000 years ago. As if that were not enough, we also invaded and occupied all or part of the other four continents for centuries under colonialism and imperialism after Columbus showed us that the world was round instead of flat, as they had always told us.
Only after two world wars, both initiated in Europe by the way, it seems we finally understood that waging war does not generate a healthy or happy society. The European project came to life with the initial main intention of never having war again. And it has worked for the members of the European Community, later renamed to the European Union. The most tangible, in fact easiest, way to maintain peace for more than 70 years has been economic cooperation, but, implicitly, the European Dream also harbored promises of much greater depth: those of human and social values like freedom, justice, equality and of honest and political transparency.
In the last decades, this project came into crisis essentially for political and economic reasons. Should this mean the end of the European Dream? Of course not, it just means that it has to be put on the right track again. From an internal peace that is based on true freedom, true justice, true equality, true political honesty and transparency. With this and the attention focused on citizens rather then on institutions or corporations, prosperity is created and peace is maintained by itself without any need of so much 'high' politics or economics. If for some reason the European project has entered into a crisis it is precisely because of them, not because of its citizens or human values.
Europa has in its citizens the ability to overcome these crises and when it does, to unlock the potential she holds to serve as a role model for other parts of the world, even if each territory does so in its own way. Precisely the rich diversity of cultures, languages, history, in short, of people in our small continent is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the search to live in harmony, of creativity to achieve it and of willingness to maintain it, that has been forged over the centuries.
As Jean Monnet has always said: "Europe is not about integrating states, it is about uniting the people."
Actually, it is a message of global significance. If the peoples of Europe, with our violent past, are able to unite in a peaceful and harmonious way from the bottom upwards then, in contrast to that destructive past, we will have transmitted a clear and constructive message that it can also be achieved in other parts of the world. This would be a fourth and really the last step of the European Dream which, in fact, is Global!