Saturday, May 7, 2011
It is this time of the year again. The time of the year that will leave many people indifferent, few celebrating or commemorating, but most people confused and wondering. It is the 9th of May, Europe’s Day.
Excuse me, does Europe have a special day in our calendar and what does it stand for?
Why should I be bothered at all and what does it mean for me? Is it something that only few bureaucrats in Brussels find an opportunity to pat themselves on the back, for their achievements?
Either want to admit it or not, many of us have had those questions in our minds. No matter where you stand politically, what your ideas about EU or a united Europe are, you have to realize the meaning and the concept behind such an idea.
What we are celebrating is not the creation of a super-state, an empire or the next superpower and many mistakenly believe. We are celebrating the creation of an organization that promotes co-operation , prosperity, development, peace and dialogue, in many fields like culture, finances, climate change, politics and social. It affects us all in our every day lives, directly.
We are celebrating the idea of a peaceful continent, working together for the development and progress of all in it, something that has never been previously achieved, thought of or inspired. In fact, Europe has incited the same aspirations in many other continents and parts of the world, since it’s success is an example for many other regions.
That is one reason why Europe should be proud and commemorate this day. The day that 50 years ago or so, European leaders sat down and put their differences aside and agreed to create an organization that would bring the continent together. Start a dialogue to solve the differences, not war. When the same leaders realized that much more could be achieved by working together, than against each other.
If that is not a reason for you to celebrate, well think of much of the stability, wealth, progress and opportunities for your personal development that you enjoy today in Europe. Many of these achievements make your life a bit easier, either on national or European level, would have never been possible without EU.
To be able to travel, study, do business, work or live in any EU country, without restrictions hassle or red tape procedures. Or to have your rights secured and recognized in all states, no matter your nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. If that is not good enough for you, having access to different projects or funds that may help you set up a business, expand it or re-educate or train yourself and your staff so your business is more competitive.
Or simply have roads ,ports and stations built or upgraded in your community with funds from EU. The list could go on and on.
The possibilities and chances that EU membership offers to any of us is certainly a reason to celebrate, for without them our lives would be much different. It is hard to appreciate something good when it is there, but take away and you will be shocked of the difference that it makes in your life. The least we can do is to remind ourselves of what we have, by celebrating and commemorating the day.
It is also a great way in creating a feeling of “togetherness”, a feeling of belonging and sharing. A reason to be proud of your nation being one of the countries that belongs to this unique organization and it is considered to be democratic, developed, respecting the rights of it’s citizens, contributing to the development and stability of Europe.
It is an opportunity not to put aside our national identity as many fear, but to celebrate our second one that we all share, the European one. EU is not trying to scrap any national identities, otherwise why its motto is “United in Diversity” and the 23 official languages that are all recognized in EU.
The only excuse I would give to anyone that feels detached or unaffected from the celebration of this day, is the inability or indifference of our national governments to underline the importance of this day to all citizens.
To explain it’s meaning, inciting the interest and appreciation of the public. And that is also the root of many of the public’s misunderstandings or negative attitude towards EU. Because even if you are a skeptic about the project, there is no reason why you can not participate in the commemoration.
If it is not what you think it should be, the EU gives you so many chances to express you opinion and have a say on what Europe must become in the future. And we have to admit, how many national governments actually do that?
Proper “euro-skepticism” as they call it, is not rejection or opposition to anything related to EU and it’s works, but constructive criticism that can lead to progress and corrections. Any other attitude is not "skepticism", but simply narrow-mindedness, ungratefulness, and propaganda.
So next time that the 9th of May is the day, you do not have to sing the “Ode of Joy”, be dressed in blue from head to toe or wave the EU flag. Simply go to any happenings for the day near your area, meet and talk to people from all over Europe living there. Share your ideas, express your disappointment if you wish and discuss how the EU has failed you.
Or you can just exchange and discuss topics about your culture, country, what you love about the country you live or come from and about living in EU. Also how it has helped you and your country and what must still be done for EU to develop, or what vision do you have for it for the future. That is what the 9th of May should be all about and how you must celebrate it.
Happy Europe’s Day to all. Enjoy the day and the debate, be proud and have a vision for the future. You are part of Europe, so this is your day either you like how the current EU works or not.