The concept of European identity is emerging nowadays from the confusion of citizens about European future and the current policies taken in some of our countries. Asking and thinking about it we try to understand its essence and we contribute to the concept it self. This is of great importance, especially because we are in a multicultural world where integration doesn’t work if we impose non-diversity.
Running from patriotism, flags and symbols European identity unifies the new generations who fight for the same rights and who understand how important is to raise their voice when it is needed.
Citizens claim for an European integration not just focus on the economic, but also on the cultural understanding, have been intensified in recent years. The awareness of a life in common thanks to the free movement inside the European Union and to successful educational programs, such as Erasmus and Leonardo have had an important influence in those new generations.
In a traditional way we use the word identity to add a meaning to our culture. In the searching process something may happen easily. A division between “me” and “you”, “us” and “them”. In some cases media and governments may support divisions as part of the stereotypical landscape to keep the political and economic status quo.
I was born and raised in South of Europe, I have also lived in Belgium, what people in Spain would understand like “a real European country”. There I met two of my best friends who are Finnish and Turkish, someone asked us once where we were from, after a “wtf!” they asked how the hell we became friends. Answer is clear for me, I had the chance to know them and that was enough to consider them very close people in my life. What I understand by European identity is far from feeling that I belong to a group, it is far from the feeling inspired by a flag or an anthem, a language. It is more like truly empathy. Identity shouldn’t belong to an institution or to a diplomatic deal, identity is not discussed in the parliament or in the borders like some may want to make us believe. It is a mutual understanding, that it goes further than Europe. European identity means breaking borders and closing ourselves to others, not matter which part of the world they were born.