The German journalist Evelyn Roll recently published a polemic pamphlet with the title ‘Wir sind Europa‘ (We are Europe; unfortunately only available in German, but you can find the international version of an essay this book is based on here). On the one hand Mrs Roll gives us here a brief description on the emergence of populism and nationalism we are currently observing in many countries of the EU. On the other hand – much more interesting by the way – she critically picks at European wounds as well as our own without spreading the usual portion of pessimism. Instead, the most important and optimistic message contained in her words is: the future of the EU is in our own hands!
I’m pretty sure – and have already heard this for several times – that this approach will be regarded as ‘naive’ by many people. If at all, the two typical reactions on severe societal problems or challenges often are: resignation or (political) activism. As we all know (the author definitely knows from his own personal and painful experience!) both normally result in either no changes or, at worst, a disaster. We often are searching reflexively for the major breakthrough – in this case e.g. THE new leader, THE new political party, THE total change of the situation – and will be disappointed for sure. There will not be THE one simple solution and better should not be, as history has taught us. The truth is: there is no simple way, but the way is simple. Europe is a process and not a status. And we, the European citizens, have to fix it. Period.
That – for me – is the positive conclusion of this little book. For sure there are so many ways for us all to help Europe to be what it should be: a worthwhile societal experiment and a future-oriented model for cohabitation – for the people and together with the people living here. So let’s start talking! Let’s start doing! Finally!