What Europe means to me
In this post I will explore my perception and opinion about Europe and the EU- I’m curious for yours, feel free to share it with me in the comments. In times of increasing nationalism and seperation, hatred and terroristic attacks I wanted to reflect myself: What does Europe and being European mean to me?
Being European and living here is something really personal to me and I was aware it from an early age onwards. I grew up in Germany with my German Mum and my German-Greek Dad. So already within my family I was confronted with different cultural backgrounds from the beginnig on. My childhood consisited of endless summers in Greece with my Greek grandma and rest of the family. In my German High School were numerous other young people with different European and non-European backgrounds. For my study I moved to the Netherlands – My life was and is affected by different cultures, languages and countries and I never perceive it as something unsual or special but probably quite European. Also I am of the so called “Millenial” generation, I was born and raised in the EU as it exists today. (Well now the UK is no longer part of the Union so yes this indeed changed…)
Yes, yes probably when you went to school somewhere in the EU you had to learn those 4-freedoms but it’s good to be reminded of the very foudation and heart of the Union and what most of us take for granted every day.
Free Movement of workers
As an EU citizen you are allowed to move freely within the Union to seek employment and also study possibilities and of course to travel.
Free movement of goods
This freedom aims to eliminate any borders within the Union. Trade of goods is supposed to become as easy and convient as in a single national market. More specifically this means that there are no boarder controls, and tariffs.
Free movement of capital
Within the EU there are no restrictions concerning capital movements and payments among it’s member states.
Free movement of services
Companies are allowed and encouraged to provide their services in other member states aside from their homecountry. EU-customers benefit from this and are free to choose among those diverse service providers.
It aims to make the Union stronger-although this is mostly happening on an economic basis not so much for forming a common identify.
Privilege of having an EU-passport
Hving grown up in the EU to me travelling within the Union was always easy, no border controls and in most countries you don’t even have to change currency. But also when it comes to travel overseas outside of Europe for most Europeans entering those countries is easy. Did you know that your passport holds a certain “strenght”? The more countries you can enter without having to set up a visa the stronger is your passport. The first time I realised that my travelling life is so much easier compared to some of my overseas living friends,was when my South African host mum told me that she has to start months earlier to apply for a visa for her familie’s winter holiday in Austria. MONTHS!
And then there is me with my tremendously priviliged German passport, currently it ranks 1st place in 2017, together with Singapore, in being the most powerful passport with being able to enter 159 countries VISA-FREE! You can check the strenght of your passport here, and if you have to citizenships you can compare those as well. The Top 10 list is mostly European countries, we are super priviliged by solely our birth place and please don’t ever take this for granted!
The gallery of my Europe
Here are some pictures about what Europe and being European means to me, click on the pictures if you want more information about them:
Of course this gallery only shows a tiny bit of the vast diversity in landscapes and nature within Europe, and yes indeed I would like to travel all the EU-member states one day 🙂
My wishes for Europe
My biggest wish for Europe is to come closer together-especially in times like this. And I want Europen citizens to look beyond the framework of the EU, yes it’s an artifical political framework, yes it is too bureaucratic and their way of handling issues is often too slow and also often unfair towards other Non-EU nations and nationalities. But when we start looking beyond this it’s about our homes, our communities, our neighbours, our families. Being European for me starts with your very self and the way you treat others. we live in one of the most privildged parts of the world, freedom of speech and press are not just “empty promises” but lots of European countries try to stick up for them every single day. Nontheless there is a worrying tendency in many countries of tyring to cut down those rights for example in Poland where a nationalistic and very conservative government was voted in charge, but citizens stand up against it and I see it as a duty of all of us other members to constantly remind ourselves and each other about how we want to live in this region.
We as Europeans need to move beyond a solely “Shared-currency-shared economy” community. We need to become a real community with shared values, and no this doesn’t come overnight and no this involves conflicts and hard work- but it’s our home.
More practical steps that I think would be benefical to develop together to a “European family”:
- Esperanto language
How about we do learn a language that is act