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May 6, 2010 |  28 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Creating a Sense of Community

Amitai Etzioni: The current crisis in Europe has led many to call for building stronger shared economic institutions and stronger EU governance. Actually what is missing most is a demos, a true sense of community. Binding EU-wide referendums on the same day in all the member states on issues of great importance are needed.

The EU has long neglected the building up of a European demos, mainly on the grounds that it was not necessary, that the EU could be based on the sharing of interests, could be merely an "administrative state." To the extent that it paid mind to fostering a demos, it was carried out by drawing on such inane measures as planting EU flags all over the place and changing the license plates of cars. Student and scholar exchanges were a bit more meaningful, but hardly did the trick. Most Europeans, these days even the young ones, see themselves first of all as citizens of their nation, not as "Europeans." Hence when the demands of the EU significantly clash with the interests of their nation, they are willing to lend only rather limited support to actions that would either rein in deviant behavior of member nations or bail them out.

The contrast with true communities is stark. West Germans contributed the equivalent of one trillion dollars to the eastern parts, amidst some growling, but without much delay. "After all, they are Germans." Once every few years some journalist will point out that some American states, especially in the South, pay less federal taxes but collect a higher share of federal expenditures than other states. In response, most Americans shrug their shoulders: "We are all Americans."

If the EU is to survive the current multi-faceted deficit challenge and others sure to follow, it needs much more than a bunch of economic corrections and institution-building. It must build up the European demos to a point where members will not act in ways that threaten the community nor seek, in effect, to raid the treasuries of the more responsible members in favor of the irresponsible ones.

A good place to start is to conduct EU-wide referendums on the same day in all the member states on issues of great importance. For these referendums to get people involved, the results must be binding for the entire EU and cannot be second-guessed by the Commission or the EU Parliament. Good subjects are EU-wide policies concerning the ways to deal with illegal as well as legal immigrants, the membership of Turkey, the military involvement in Afghanistan, and ways to control nations that show early signs of irresponsible economic behavior, rather than looking the other way when they comply with limits on deficits by fudging the figures. Such engagement in significant collective issues will make citizens of the continent more European and less nation-bound.

Replacing the low-profile, low-key, low-demos-building president and foreign affairs chief with those who can speak effectively for Europe would also help. However, this puts the cart in front of the horse. First, Europeans must engage in consensus-building about their shared positions on key international issues.

If no meaningful demos-building takes place, the EU-and even the Euro-may well survive the current crisis, although it surely will emerge from it wounded, with citizens even more inclined to attend to their nation rather than to the larger community. In the longer run, though, the severe demos deficit will force a considerable scaling back of many EU endeavors.

The EU is now trying to stand between two stairs, that of a mainly economic and administrative union and that of a true, demos-based community. It is a rather precarious position.

Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor and a professor of international affairs at The George Washington University and author of Political Unification Revisited (Lexington Books, 2001).

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Olaf  Theiler

May 6, 2010

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Great article and I completely share the analysis. Despite all talks about an improved European Security and Defense Policy, the last 20 years have seen a continuous renationalization of security policy (that’s the only field where I can provide serious judgments) and growing national egoism. Even if European nations developed more integrated capabilities under ESDP, the use of these assets became more and more driven by purely national interests.
Despite the impression that there would be a something growing like a common European public identity resulting from a widespread anti-American atmosphere 2003-2005, the described trend of national was at least partly motivated by hopes to gain local votes - national votes.
This means that instead of leading their countries towards an always closer European integration like the old class of political elites in the Cold War, today's political class has become increasingly national in its way of thinking, its identity and action.
The only potential counterweight here could be a growing European demos as Amitai Atzioni described it. It might be the last and final hope for the idea of a United Europe that is able to overcome its war haunted past.
 
Victoria  Naselskaya

May 6, 2010

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I completely agree with the position of Mr. Etzioni. Without the popular support the EU is not able to implement its goals. In order to think about oneself as a European, rather than German, French or Dutch one should bear in mind a clear vision of the European identity. Meanwhile the latter is now associated with Brussels institutions, Euro and in part artificial attempts to create the sense of being European. Another main obstacle in substitution the example of “we are all Americans” to “we are all European” is different linguistic and historical and cultural backgrounds of the EU citizens. For instance, it is still rather hard for Spanish to find a job in Germany if the former does not speak German, however labour mobility is one of the main advantages of the Union. Additionally, it is not an easy task to define what is the European culture and values, while it is much more obvious in case of Italian, British or French cultures. Also, when joining the EU most citizens and even head of the states though about benefits from the community and ignored sacrifices and compromises which are unavoidable in the EU.
 
Eva  Maria Krockow

May 6, 2010

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I very much agree with the article and the previous comment. Especially amongst the European countries with a prolonged history as strong nation states the scepticism and rejection towards the shared EU identity is profound. The Britains with their traditionally strong transatlantic ties and their historical connections with Asia and the Carribeans tend to refer to the continental states as 'Europe', considering themselves as geographically and culturally detached. The French with their powerful colonial past and high protectiveness of own culture and language (e.g., fiercely combating the use of anglicisms) and the Germans with the still persistent guest worker mentality and their reminiscence for the strong D-Mark currency of their past, share similar levels of national pride.

In my opinion, it is particularly in these countries, that fundamental changes regarding the sense of belonging have to be brought about in order to establish a EU demos. The implementation of European-wide referenda would certainly be helpful in increasing participation and engagement in EU politics. I believe, however, that ultimate change can only be achieved through grassroots activism as any top-down approach would be patronising and ineffective, possibly aggravating the situation. The building of a European identity has to rely on cultural diplomacy advanced by civil society organisations and may include cultural festivals, increased access to foreign language classes and the shared European market of music and film.
 
Greg Randolph Lawson

May 6, 2010

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I laregly agree with this analysis. However, I think nationalism, or more bluntly "tribalism" still trumps "universalism" and it is only a form of universalistic thinking that could ever allow a "demos" to become incarnate. Humans of this era may think more broadly than previous epochs, but make no mistake, Englismen are still English, French- French and German-German etc. There are still ties that bind and affinities that are too closely based on ethnicity to think we have yet arrived at a time where the word "European" can transcend those more parochial means of self-identification for most people (even if political, academic and economic elites disagree).

The EU requires more coordination politically to survive as a meaningful "transnational" political entity. Its not there yet. It is quite unclear if it can weather these storms.

I still believe a trans-Atlantic free trade zone as some authors have advocated on this site before, is an idea well worth exploring for a variety of strategic reasons in the wake of Rising Asia. But as for the larger issues of unity, Atlanticists may be forced to deal with the unwieldly ad hoc structure of "coalitions of the willing."



 
Unregistered User

May 6, 2010

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Well, the EU mirage can't resist to banksters pressions, at the end it's all count ! but this si still a manipulation for more global government, that some clever elite are ingineering in Basel

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13239 nice BIS, the ingenner of National debts and global serfdom

BIS isn’t quite the fair business you think it is : National Debts are engineered from there. The goal is to put nations on knees so that they are ruled by IFM or banks under BIS control, private banks that we already bailed out with our taxes, but, be sure that we'are going to bail them out again, it's the "globalisation" rules at work, and EU is the useful tool !

Unless our governements take their prerogatives back : "la politique ne se décide pas à la corbeille" De Gaulle, means that our formated elites should regain their regalian role back, and don't let international banksters decide what should be the rules in their place, and national banks should reall re-become national banks, not banks at the service to the BIS rulers
 
Bakhtiyor  Tukhtabaev

May 7, 2010

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To my view Demos Europa and a true sense of community in Europe is very difficult to achieve and perhaps shall not be achieved in the near future. As mentioned by previous commenters, differences among European nations are significant, ambitions are indeed high. This situation is brilliantly described by Bressand (2010). Attempting to find an emblematic creature, which would be associated with Europe, like the lion is connected to Finland, eagle to the US, bear to Russia, rooster to France etc, the author found the Cheshire cat as the most suitable creature to symbolize Europe. Just like the Cheshire cat, which is unseen most of the time in “Alice in Wonderland” but its grin is appearing everywhere, Europeans find Europe as something abstract and intangible, although they can feel that its grin, whether friendly or bureaucratically sarcastic, is present all around the continent. Certainly, it is quite difficult to associate oneself with and create demos around something which can be found everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

This is more aggravated by the fact that “wider” and “deeper” integration cannot go together. The more countries join the EU, the more difficult it becomes to make integration “deeper”. Taking EU environmental policy as an example, economically weaker states pursue materialistic values, which contradict post-materialistic values of economically stronger states, and this leads to dilemmas of choosing between going “green” or being productive.

Indeed, EU-wide referendums could be a good place to start the “deeper” integration. However difficulties and disputes may occur when identifying and who should identify which subjects are important enough to be put to referendum. Moreover, taking into account the voters apathy during previous European Parliament elections, one may assume that EU-wide referendums are doomed to the same faith.
 
Viola  Prifti

May 7, 2010

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I completely share the proposals of Dr. Amitai Etzioni with regard to the importance of building an European demos, but I fear that they may assume a significant role for future generations rather than for present EU citizens.
Firstly, I believe that some states have to solve their domestic problems regarding racism within their own countries. For example, the ultranationalist party "Lega Nord" in Italy, is continuously gaining larger consensus in the North. Being Italians is not as much important as being native of Padania area. Spain has a similiar problem in regions like Catalunya and Galicia. National identity has strong roots in history and is transferred from generation to generation. Maybe we can overpass nationalism if we begin to think of ourselves as citizens of the world and realize that being born in Greece rather than in Germany is only a matter of chance, not a pre-condition of being.
Religious factor is another obstacle, especially in the Turkish case.

Secondly, European institutions should take significant steps towards harmonization of different social and legal systems. In particular, a common penal law code is necessary to create a common sense of legality. Nowadays, a crime may be punished in Belgium and not in Italy; Italian law provides for appeal for every type of criminal offense, but Spain excludes some offenses from appeal and so on. This means that Europeans are treated differently because they belong to different nations. In this light, an effective European demos needs absolute certainity with respect to legal matters.
Furthermore, European leaders must agree and be coherent on external relations. The absence of President Obama in the upcoming EU-US summit in Madrid may give rise to a reflection on EU leaders' political choices.

However, a strong feeling of European demos could be the best response to economic and cultural crises. That urges a high level of European conscience and strong collaboration among states to overcome difficulties, but I believe that it will be worth it to fully realize a peaceful and permanent cohabitation and turn our differences into common values.
 
Unregistered User

May 7, 2010

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There is no landmass on earth , which can claim so many devastating confrontations and wars like the European landmass, including genocide.
It happened over at least the last 110 years and has seen, especially in the case of the
Jewish genocide, the Nazis as the main perpetrators. Germany accepted " Mea Culpa" ,
but Germany's " Mea Culpa" should not be used to cover the " Mea Culpa" of others and there are other " Mea Culpa" to go around----Russia just admitted to it.-----
It all started with the European Colonization of the Middle East and Med countries,
after the Mongol and Ottoman Empires.
The method of governance applied, was then theocracy, autocracy and monarchy and the first to enter as countries were Egypt in 1922, followed by Saudi Arabia in 1932.
Europe during those days certainly had " charismatic leaders", such as Napoleon, Hitler,
Stalin and others and we know the results.
When Charles De Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer brought the idea of a " United Europe"
to reality, one can easily see all the feelings and phsyological difficulties they had to overcome.
But this United Europe , in order to succeed, has to heal from the inside, has to grow from the bottom up and has to be shielded from those, who don't want it to become a reality.
And there were/ are many.
When one looks at the chart of debt on % of GDP, it reads like who is who:
Italy around 120%
Greece around 100+%
USA around 96 %
with Portugal, Irland and Spain to follow.
But Greece is the problem at the present time and if the countries of Europe understand
that Greece is a member of the family and Greece is willing to change directions, then
Europe has a new beginning, also as Europeans.
The only open question to remain, whether the United Kingdom could accept
to be called Europeans.

HRF





Tags: | Eirope/ Greece |
 
Giorgia  Bigaro

May 7, 2010

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Very interesting points I must say, but I think there's a lacking of understanding here, and the last comment did really contribute to the initial debate, which questions the building of more institutions and asks for the spreading of a Europen sense of demos.
From my modest point of view, we are asking too much out of what is still a neo-institution. There's no neglection of the concept of a European people and it is rather impossible to change people's minds in such a short span of time. It is pivotal to remember that the pillars upon which Europe is biult are of economical nature. I have to disagree with Mr. Etzioni when he assesses that " Europe needs much more than a bunch of economic corrections and institutions building" (in relation to the current crisis). Rating agencies, such as S&P, Moody's and Fitch, are worsening the markets scepticism enhancing speculations. We can't accept that the floating of the martket (that directly affects a country's deficit and economic credibility) is dictated by such agencies that base their calculatiions on data which are rather arguable, and based on parameters that aren't feasable at all. The call of the President of the Central European Bank for a European rating agency is a step that European Heads of State must take into consideration. I am trying toassess that the spreading of a pan-European feeling amongst its people cannot be imposed by anyone or by any institution.
I truly believe that the new generation should concentrate on creating common interests and broader understanding at a global level rather than building new barriers. Europe is an economic institution with little political traits. I am as much as European as I am Italian or Scottish or a citizen of the world as a whole and I accept the Eurozone as a community of Countries that share the same economic interests. My Europen studies professor (Professor Trevor Slmon) kept on arguing that it's quite contraddictory to engage in debates on the establishment of a European people when we got rid of state frontiers but still have to travel around with adaptors because each European still has plugs with differente voltage.

GB
 
Giorgia  Bigaro

May 7, 2010

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p.s. sorry in my introduction I meant to say that the last comment DIDN'T quite contribute to the initial discussion.
 
Unregistered User

May 7, 2010

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I might be missing the point of this article, but if the Germans are already mad about having to prop up Greece, is making Europe a closer union really going to fix the problem. It sounds to me like it will only make the Germans more mad about doing the work for the Greeks.
 
Olaf  Theiler

May 7, 2010

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Even inside of European States there are limits of solidarity, worse than we currently see with Greece (where a considerable package of aid credits has just been agreed upon, with Germany paying the biggest amount with 22-24 Billion Euros, followed by France and Italy, Spain ranking 4th with 10 Billion Euros in the hope to get the same aid if their turn comes). In Germany, the southern (and richer states) tried to change the rules of the solidarity funding for poorer countries like Bremen, Hamburg or Berlin (city states). The special funding for East Germany was highly criticised in West Germany and several local politicians in the West tried to gain votes by arguing that the payments had been long enougth and now it would be their turn to receive special funds. The limits of solidarity are even far more visible in Belgium, practically not a single state anymore but two confederate entities that are constantly fighting for money. In Italy there is a rivalry between the rich north and the poor south and there are other examples all over Europe.
As soon its is about money, friendship and solidarity finds an end, this is true for families, friendships, neigbhours and also for states. Therefore, I would agree with Girogia Bigaro, that the new Generation needs to foster common interests. We Europeans need to understand that the world is not waiting for Europe to get its act together. If we don't learn to work closer together with or without institutions, new regions and new powers will make their political decisions without us or even against us. In the last 50 years, Europe needed to get together in order to overcome its war hauted past. In future we will need to act united or we will be pushed aside.
 
Unregistered User

May 8, 2010

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http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2010/05/05/was-the-demise-of-the-ussr-a-negative-event.aspx

why the EU dream is going to fail

no money available anymore for the dreamers !

"Germany paying the biggest amount with 22-24 Billion Euros"

uh, for 2010 :

IMF contibution to Greece bailing out = ¤15 billion
France = ¤16,8 billion, Germany = ¤8,4 billion, that makes about ¤40 billion, promised for this year. I haven’t look for the other EU countries.

So, I'd like to see sources for german contribution, for what I saw it will not overpass ¤17 billions within the next years.

Anyway, consider it's a gift to Greece, I can't see how they can repay back. with the rate of 5

So the solution is to leave euro, and just keep it as a currency for european banks exchanges with ECB


 
Luca  Colonna

May 8, 2010

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I am a strong supporter of the European integration process and I really hope future generations will feel Europeans instead of Italians or Germans. But given the current situation I don't think in the short term we'll see significant progress; on the other hand I think it already exists a "demos-based european community" : the real problem is that such a community is limited to small élites: young transnational students, professionals, and "Brussels bureaucrats" are examples: I think such groups have the duty and the opportunity to promote european values and to foster a demos-based community: I can image such a change to be only a bottom-up process .
National governments will have to support such pro-europeans feelings but nowadays if I look to some Member States I can't avoid thinking they're antieuropeans and that's because governments act according to electoral interests and where great leaders are lacking it's almost impossible to make the change happen.
I think the current financial crisis is a unique chance for Europe: a real demos has to be established, for sure, but it will require years if not centuries ; in the meantime is up to the leading countries to take the initiative, also using instruments like the old-fashioned enhanced co-operation , to be improved through participatory measures,like referendums . It's a huge challange to the current acquis but ,as the recent European history tells us, we need to dare to change.
 
Luca  Colonna

May 8, 2010

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To Viola

I don't completely agree with your positions about racism: I think the real problem is to build a common ground on which foster a European identity and I don't think racism, even if a significant problem in several member states, is today the most important antieuropean factor.
Another point is to discuss about autonomies and new local identities; even if I can be criticized for that, I think there's a chance that people which aspires to autonomy can be more sensitive to a pro-european programme; that's because Europe plays in favour of federalism and Regions . On the other hand I completely agree secessionist movements have negative effects on Europe but that's because they are trying to create and protect new identities, often artificial ones, and once they success they won't renounce to their acquired sovereignety: in any case I don't think that's the case of Lega Nord(Northern League).
 
Yuan  Zheng

May 8, 2010

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Well, what interested me most is one point mentioned by Professor Amitai Etzioni in his article about the feeling of being "Europeans". I am not really European but I feel personally that it can be really difficult to become attached to a continent rather than a nation concerning individual identification. Like me, I will naturally refer myself to being Chinese rather than being Asian when I introduce myself. "Europeans" are quite different concept from "Americans" due to that they are after all from different countries and are born with different characteristics. The US is big and comprised of many different states. But US is after all a uniform country which is by no means compared to a continent. Therefore, in my opinion, the fact that the perspective of "community" seen by Americans and Europeans is stark is understandable and reasonable. And to demand the "Europeans" to feel like that they are tightly united as the Americans do or the "East-Western Germans" is not justifiable given the scale of a continent vs a country.
 
Yuan  Zheng

May 8, 2010

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Maybe the Europeans should think over why they would like to establish European Union in the first place than fervently advocate integration. If the only purpose is to parallel the US or just a nice dream of some strong European countries who want to be the leaders, it might as well be wise to give up the idea because a real community needs fundamentally respect for each other and more importantly responsibility.

Especially, some European countries may reconsider their policies about immigrants or refugees. It might be much wiser for the government to investigate the money on the people who work really hard and have a real contribution to the society than those who only receive money as a refugee and do nothing else but deliver a lot of babies, requiring for more money. This is going to change the social structure of Europe if these people keep increasing and I believe that it is happening from personal experience. They may need to figure out what people they should "import" for the sake of their prosperity. The big amount of money they spend on international humanitarian aids might be enough to save their own people or at least the ones who are diligent and intelligent. This deal can be instrumental confronted with the economic crisis. It could have spared the strikes and movements frequently seen in Europe and the money of Germany to save Greece perhaps.
 
Unregistered User

May 9, 2010

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Yuan Zheng, you are right none can't forget where he/she is born, and certainly not for a burocrat abstraction ideology of a well paid elite in Brussels. BTW, it would be interesting that these well paid representatives, clerics, deputees... the whole Brussels clique, show us the exemple: they should cut their fees and retirement pensions by half, since they are higher than anywhere else in Europe.
 
Viola  Prifti

May 9, 2010

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To Luca Colonna:
I never wrote that racism is an anti-European factor. My aim was to bring a simple and concrete example to demonstrate how divided some nationas can be insides their borders, and how sometimes people differentiate themselves, discriminating other regions of their own country. On my point of view, this is a great obstacle for creating an European identity.
I am not saying that people should not preserve their own culture, values and tradition, but that whenever the preservation of identity does not respect and does not equally recognize other identities, it hardly will ever develop in an European demos. However, it's not the case to discuss about Lega Nord here and the national divisions I mentioned, are a marginal aspect of the whole question.
 
Member deleted

May 9, 2010

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Sense of Community?

Who does it serve? What dangers are behind that demos? What is the least common denominator?

I agree, I am getting increasingly uneasy over the lack of democratic influence on EU decision making, however, let us be careful regarding effects...
 
Unregistered User

May 9, 2010

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one more fine analyse from across the pond !

“Germany (like China) views its high savings and export prowess as virtues, not vices. But John Maynard Keynes pointed out that surpluses lead to weak global aggregate demand – countries running surpluses exert a “negative externality” on their trading partners. Indeed, Keynes believed that it was surplus countries, far more than deficit countries, that posed a threat to global prosperity; he went so far as to recommend a tax on surplus countries”

http://www.prisonplanet.com/can-the-euro-be-saved.html

ohlala, that’s the solution, tax the german products ! how comes none of our clever finances ministers thought of that !
 
Bakhtiyor  Tukhtabaev

May 9, 2010

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Yuan Zheng, you brought up an interesting idea about European countries reconsidering immigration policies. Indeed, by the end of 2008, according to UNHCR, there were around 1.6 million refugees hosted by Europe. However, to my view, although reducing the number of refugees in Europe could help saving a certain amount of funds, it would not help Europeans to feel more European. On the other hand, relaxing immigration restrictions to increase foreign labor force which can work and live in Europe would mean that Europeans would have to face more competition when trying to find employment. Just like in the first case, I don’t think this will unite Europeans around Europe.
 
Jennifer Margaret Anne Morrison

May 10, 2010

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Perhaps an EU-wide policy for mandatory inclusion of education about the EU in natonal curriculums in schools would make a difference? People can't feel part of a community that they don't know enough about and I thnk that certainly in the UK this could make a difference. I don't know how much education and information there is about the EU on other EU countries? I'd be interested to find out.
 
Nazanine  Metghalchi

May 10, 2010

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A lot of interesting comments have been made and significant points were raised regarding the article of Mr Etzioni, on the necessity of a demos concept, that is to say a collective identity which would constitute the European people.

Today, the question of the Union’s demos has surged to be one of the top priority’s of the debating agenda: indeed, can the nation-state remain the main locus of identity or will it be displaced by a supranational identity. This latter is an attempt that have been made by Brussels’ technocrats to create a European identity through symbols (European day, flag, hymn etc) in order to bind the population of 27 countries which do not inevitably have a common history, ethnic core, myths, cultural background variables and shared political traditions.

Today, Europe celebrated the 60th anniversary of Schumann’s founder speech and yet there is no clear European identity and no one can unanimously agree on which principals it stands for. However, I agree with Luca: a demos based European community exists and is only limited to small elites who need to promote it through education and media. Unfortunately, the Europeanization process has not been very far in the media sector as it remains very nationally organized. If an all European communicative space has emerged at all, it has been the case only among, once again, the privileged minority of European power wielders who watch Euronews and read the Financial Times. Jennifer is right in raising the question of the weight of education and information in the Europeanization building process and proclaiming that people cannot feel part of a community that they do not know enough about. The unequal distribution in these sectors pose a threat for a unified and homogenised demos.

Regarding Viola‘s remarks on the rising minorities that might represent a danger for a European demos, I firstly believe that one should not confuse a racist, populist political party like Liga de Nord and demands based on cultural and economic arguments for a deeper autonomous community like the region of Cataluña. Moreover, I think that the EU’s role is not in opposition to regions or federalism (one could notice the effort made these past years in incorporating regions in the process of democracy by increasing its political influence within the European institutions as well as supporting interregional cooperation across wider Europe). Finally, I wanted to ponder on the following issue: instead of designing a patter of post nationalist vision, whether based on the project of Habermas’ constitutional patriotism or not, is it impossible to think in terms of multiple nationalities? Is it going against European’s values (EU’s motto being ’United in diversity’) to claim ‘I am Catalan, Spanish and European’ ?
 
Yuan  Zheng

May 10, 2010

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Thanks, Bakhtiyor for your comment. The immigration policies can be really tricky, aren't they? I quite agree with you that in either way (either restricting or relaxing ) it would not help too much the feeling about being an European. But at least in the first case, it could not do harm to spare some funds, isn't it?

Well, I appreciate a lot the idea of "feeling an European is vital for the establishment of a real community" in Professor Amitai Etzioni's article (as long as I understand it), however, haven't we concentrated too much on the emotional "feeling" part?

In my opinion, Europe is relatively easy and comfortable to live compared to the competitive style of American life. Immigration policies can be part of the explanations since the Americans attract and adopt people sufficiently smart and capable regardless of ethnicity, whose work add to GDP. So today we see a prosperous country, comprised of individuals from virtually all continents, collaborating while competing with each other, with a huge achievement of "a community" in the meanwhile although they 're born with various origins. They feel like "Americans" during the process of active integrations and competitions and society recognizes them based on their contributions but not their skin colours and whatsoever.

So perhaps Europe needs more stimulants like competitions so that it can wake up from its conventions and conservativeness. Let's forget about foreign labour, but just among Europeans. You're still "foreign" to each other like the aboriginal Americans do. Therefore, perhaps you can feel more attached to each other when you're spurred to move on, so that a melting port can be moulded with more excitement and innovation. Furthermore, excellent foreign labour could feel like "Europeans" if Europe is willing and dare to accept and acknolwedge their dedications.
 
Harry  Hunter

May 10, 2010

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I had the opportunity last year to take part in a related piece of research examining the existence of pan-European identity and its relation to national identity as part of the erasmus program. However the project quickly ran into problems with the French contingent being cut off due to staff strikes, the Italian university failing to supply the necessary paperwork and the German university staff seemingly totally uninterested in the whole thing, a nice little parallel to the problems facing the creation of a wider European 'Demos' I think.

Saying that I totally support the creation of wider European communities, harmonization of culture and values (whether they cover religion or financial responsibility) should be a component of wider economic equalization between the member states not just the purview of academia.

Similarly, this weeks Newsweek has an interesting article on the future of the Euro (http://www.newsweek.com/id/237645) which concludes by saying the future holds two options, wider European integration of which id say community building must be a 'fourth pillar' or the eventual failure of the Euro.
 
Unregistered User

May 10, 2010

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Well, what was EU at the beginning "a businesses association", and what is EU today, still a businesses association, and when these don't fare well, the whole cards castel is shaking to break.

So, if no money, no EU dream !

 
Elizabeth  Grenier

May 11, 2010

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I agree that a collective identity in the EU would add a whole other dimension to this project, but I fear EU-wide referendums would not necessarily do the trick. In the end, analysts, nationalist politicians and the media would tend to overemphasize national discrepancies which would emerge from such processes... Think about the well-known "NO" provided by the French, the Dutch or the Irish within the history of EU integration.

In a "glocalized" world, we will all be multiplying our identities soon. Many people of my generation are experiencing this already. Within the student community, I'm amazed to see how many can speak several languages, have spent longer periods in different countries, etc. When one thinks that for our parents it was hard to accept that a French could get married to a German, I would give time a little chance.




 

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