Why can we still be (pro-)European today?

By Piera Sciama | 9 May 2013


May 9th, today is the 56th birthday of the EU.  Allow us, then, to honour this institution. After an alarming thematic on the disintegration of Europe, the London team decided to celebrate the European Day by remembering Europe’s achievements.

In times of crisis, of uncertainty, it is normal to develop negative perceptions and mixed feelings. But it also important to balance our points of view, to look at the positive side. Preparing the thematic of this month revealed to be a good exercise for each writer. The goal is not to defend the Union blindly but to put things in their context. It is to stress the originality of this project, how it benefited the European population and how it affected not only national economies but also daily lives.

Focusing on actions that constituted the pillars of our Union, Chloe recalls that Schengen is a great achievement incarnating the freedom of movement, but that it nevertheless raises a few debates that illustrate the diversity of visions of European integration. Complementing Chloe’s article, Elena looks at labour mobility which is an instrument for promoting economic adjustment and growth but still has to face a few challenges due to the scepticism of member states. To wrap it up on citizens mobility, Mila writes about the Erasmus program recalling it is more than just an exchange program. It has a great visibility in Europe and is an important tool of the promotion of the integration project. 

Taking in consideration another great pillar, the Euro, Andreas alerts against the risk of self fulfilling prophecies and, à contre courant, defends the common currency and stresses his belief that it will resist to the crisis. Concerning our last pillar, Common Foreign Policy, Marta recalls its positive evolution and shows her support for it acknowledging the arguments of its detractors  and responding to them.

Beyond grand politics and visible initiatives, Europe has also its less known and often invisible facets. It is an important actor of our day-to day lives. Claire explains how the Union, through its directives in the domain of competition policy, contributed to lowering the price of our phone bills and Piera imagines the routine of an European citizen raising issues of consumer protection, health, infrastructure and culture, shading the light on how the Union influences its citizens habits and hobbies.

After uncovering the hidden facets, it is time to touch upon the forgotten facets. Looking at a “forgotten advantage of the European Union”, Christina advocates for a stronger civil society and points out its promising future through the development of various citizens initiatives.  This article reminds us that we are one of the main actors of this political construction and we have the responsibility of building the Union’s future according to what we believe in: “Don’t ask what Europe can do for you, ask what can you do for Europe”.

We hope that you will enjoy the articles and that it will stimulate your reflexion on the past, present and future of our Union on a rather positive note.

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