The idea of Europe is a powerful one. It’s existed, in one form or another, for thousands of years. But is it an idea whose time has come and gone? As euroscepticism takes hold across the continent, is the romance with Europe over? Or can we still fall in love with the idea of Europe?
We had a comment sent in by Graziano, who said that, to him, being European meant being “open minded, friendly; peace, respect for minorities, freedom! Love Europe. I have many friends in Ireland, Austria, Germany, France and Spain. That’s Europe and the EU to me <3”
Those words were clearly spoken by a man in love… but not everybody shares his passion. At Friends of Europe’s recent ‘State of Europe’ roundtable event in Brussels, participants were asked the question: How do we fall in love with the idea of Europe as a political, social and economic force for good?
The answers were written on sheets of paper and stuck up on a wall in the event space. Among the many suggestions, one person suggested a simple formula:
Educate + Stop hate-crimes + Give jobs = <3 EU
Somebody else argued that the secret to rekindling the fires of romance was to remember the flames of war:
We need to remember where we come from and what was before
Another participant argued that all this talk about “GDP” was a major turn-off. It was time to start rethinking what we want from our economy:
Stop talking about growth / GDP / consumers. Climate change offers an opportunity to really rethink our economic and societal models.
Others agreed, arguing that the economy had to be made to work more for everybody, not just the wealthy:
Resetting Europe’s ‘True North’ by exploiting innovation, health and wealth at the service of European citizens.
Finally, we also put Graziano’s comment to Estonian MP Kalle Palling, Chair of the EU Affairs Committee in the Estonian Parliament. What would he say?
How can we make people like Europe again? Is the romance with Europe over? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!