EU values & identities: What's next for the European identities and cultures in times of mobility?
This chat room discussed issues related to the existence of a common European identity and how we relate to the values connected to the European Union in the current political landscape. A main focus of the discussion was the role of Culture in determining our common European identities but also in changing the tone of the narrative about Europe.
There was a common understanding among participants that each European has more than one identity (local, national, European etc.) and these are not competing among each other. However, there is a concern over the conflicts surfacing in relation to the ongoing refugee crisis and the lack of functional solutions at EU level in response to these issues.
The discussion highlighted the democratic values on which the EU was founded, noting that such consensus does not necessarily exist among all political leaders in today's Europe. The rise of the far right groups in national parliaments across Europe is a threat to the fundamental values of the EU and yet, once again, the mechanisms for preventing their rise have so far been inadequate. European bodies and transnational European networks need to engage in articulating the grand narrative of a Europe of multivoicedness, of diversity, of differences, on the ability to agree to disagree, on opening for more solutions to similar challenges in respect of local / regional differences and opportunities. Culture plays a vital role in carrying this narrative.
In the context of forthcoming EP elections, it was discussed that not all voters have the same understanding of the EU and values associated with it (sometimes even within the same EP party).Partially, this is due to the inequality in opportunities for traveling and cooperating across the borders. People living in areas with fewer opportunities, including rural areas, might not have the same understanding of the benefits united Europe provides. In the context of the Brexit vote and the doubts raised about the EU project, European politicians need to work on making people hope that better and more democratic future is possible.