Europenii

Europe is puzzling me and it should puzzle you too

It is somewhat scary and at the same time exciting, I must admit, this new European context we find ourselves in. Many old European souls are probably asking “Why do we need Europe? We want progress and a good life, but let’s keep things the way they are. We will lose our sovereignty while decisions will be made far away and we are afraid our culture and language will gradually fade away if we move forward with this European integration”. Should we resist to change or adapt? And do we really have a choice between the two?

I am a young European soul who is trying to figure out what the future holds for Europe. I often wonder what language/s will my children learn if I meet my other half 2000km away and we settle somewhere, anywhere in Europe. I have doubts when trying to associate “I am European” with a definition or at least some ground characteristics. But even so, I do feel European, more than ever.
I imagine that it will be my responsibility as a parent, primarily, and, to a certain extent, the state where I am living to determine the cultural luggage my children shall bear.
Parents are responsible to pass their mono or multi cultural legacy towards their children if they expect their children to speak their ancestors language and hopefully, other languages as well. States are also responsible to create a captivating and motivating educational system that stimulates children to internalize this cultural legacy and bear it with them till the next generation.
Also taking into consideration the pressure technology puts on a much more increasing gap between what we find in schools and what we find outside schools, Member States who succeed at minimizing this gap will prevail and its citizens will choose to continue living at “home” while those Member States who fail its citizens will find themselves in the midst of gradual but steady migration towards the more adapted Member States.
Especially now when borders are practically nonexistent, Europeans are free to choose any Member State they feel most attached and attracted to, taking into consideration their aspirations, economic incentives and emotional attachments such as traditions, interests, lifestyle. Language differences and discrimination, or to be less harsh, lack of inter-cultural awareness will only serve as temporary barriers. More inter-cultural awareness I believe is the key pillar for a sustainable European society. The more we interact the easier it will be to say “I am European” and to even define what a European stands for.
We should recognise and accept the new European dimension we all live in and prepare the new generation for the challenges ahead, in order for them to become active European citizens. Each youth in Europe should be able to interact with any other youth in Europe and at some point, during his or her educational path, to actually do so. The Erasmus mobility program has set the pace but much more needs to be done.
Few years ago, I stumbled upon a quote from former Polish Foreign Minister, Bronislaw Geremek, which triggered an ongoing puzzling process in my mind. “We have Europe” he said. “Now we need Europeans”. For years now, I’ve tried to find out an answer to the following questions: “Are we born Europeans or do we become along the way and most importantly, how?”/ “What should a person do or learn to become European?”
In my puzzling process I have initiated a virtual project, Erasmus House, which aims at minimizing the inter-cultural awareness gap between Europeans with the help of social media. Erasmus House is about Europe, its people and their life components, their values, traditions, art creations, music, festivals, food, fashion, travels, landscapes, museums, history, restaurants, sports, leisure activities and many other cultural bits and pieces that represent Europe. In other words, glimpses of Europe through the eyes of Europeans themselves.
Find out more about Erasmus House via http://storify.com/ErasmusHouse

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