What is the sense of Europe? Why does Europe make sense? Why should we fight for it i
nstead of taking it for granted? And, particularly: How do I, as European citizen profit from it? These are questions, which, since the results of the UK referendum to leave the EU, have been circulating in EU citizens’ minds. For some, this may seem like reasonable- given all the bureaucratic obstacles, non-transparent policies and redundant regulations. Others, however will find this surprising, since the longest time span of peace on the European continent is largely due to the formation of the EU, in addition to shared values and ideas within its borders.
There had been a generation, so it seems, which did not grasp the sense of the EU. It was a characteristic of the so-called “Ich Gesellschaft” and its self-interest, whether related to external circumstances, such as insecurity and the gaining importance of individuality. Self-centeredness in an “elbow-society”?
Today was the 23. day of the European Union. On that occasion, all member states initiated several events. The Commission launched respectively a new online platform, a new Hashtag #EUandME and even a new “I love Europe filter” on snapchat. All this is happening whilst the Eurovision is taking place. Europe is present. Online, in the institutions- on national and regional levels. But, above all, society is changing. People are changing. Away from self-centeredness, and egoism towards selflessness and tolerance.
And as the minds are changing, so are the questions. If questions are moving from “what does the EU do for me and how do I take advantage from the EU” towards questions of what can I myself do for the EU and its citizens, society is moving, as well. Engagement, participation, Erasmus programs, as well as European Solidarity Corps shape the perception of the EU today. The counter-narrative to Brexit and EU skepticism is being written today, as the new generation of Europeans manages to grasp the sense of the EU – proceeding with visions for a European community.