The vision of a united Europe is often contradicted by various approaches and through different perspectives. In a similar way do we believe that the picture represents the numerous attitudes and concepts that consist of the challenges that Europe faces in the 21stcentury. First and foremost do we believe that the picture, like Europe, can be interpreted in numerous ways!
While various transnational European Institutions such as the EU, the CoE etc. over the recent decades have sought to create a common European framework does it appear that the advancement of the Europeanization in recent years has been a setback rather than a continuous progress.
On one hand has there been numerous attempts to create a common European framework and on the other it appears that the EU member states permanently are trying to obstruct the common vision of an inclusive EU. The recent example is when the states decided to “take ownership” of the EU’s foreign policy at a summit designated to set the EU’s strategic priorities.
Particularly interesting, is it that unlike the discussions of the Lisbon Treaty, where European citizens to a large extent rejected the Treaty. This time is it the decision makers that actively oppose the progress of the vision of the EU – in ensuring that the states will maintain their sovereignity in regard to questions on foreign policy. The picture can be perceived as a symbol of this political fragmentation.
Another way of interpreting the picture is through the puzzle of Europe on the desk, in front of a computer and the globe in the back. Is this a symbol of the increasing significance of the EU in the global order? Or is it a symbol of the emergence of the globalization where the EU plays a major role in developing new forms of communication?
The mess of the puzzle on the desk poses some of the more difficult questions! Who is going to put the pieces together? in which order? Politicans? EU-crats? People that only work from a top-down approach while neglecting the reality and the societies they influence? Which kind of Europe are we facing in the future with this type of integration? Europe, and European identity should not be constructed in an office rather it should be a joint project of the EU in conjunction with the European citizens.
European identity and European integration have to be built from the streets, from the people in every city if the European vision of unity in diversity needs to become a success. Is it possible to build a house starting with the roof? or is there a danger that it might collapse before the dream will become a reality? Like any other top-down approach is there a strong need for a civil society and a bottom-up approach that reflects the facts on ground!.
This puzzle is not only about fitting the right pieces and nation states together but more importantly how we can live together and embrace European diversity! It is a puzzle that no one expects will be easy and it’s a task where the EU institutions, nation states and citizens need to go hand in hand in order to shape the future! The main question is not how and why, but rather if the European citizens are interested in the Europeanization project and EU’s vision of unity in diversity?
These are just a few examples on how the picture can be interpreted – we would like to include other questions such as the emergence of a European power-state, and of course the question of the European enlargement but most importantly we would like to hear your perspective on the picture!
Jonas Herzberg Karpantschof
Javier Ruiz Soler