What does it mean to be European? – RUB-Europadialog #1 @Asturias
During a 5-day workshop organized by the Institute of Cultural Studies (IDF) of the University of Bochum, in conjunction with the University of Oviedo and financed by the Foundation Mercator, weLand visited the stunning region of Asturias, Spain, and discussed, together with many people from all over Europe, “what does it mean to be European?”. What follows are the ideas weLand came up with:
What does it mean to be European? Being European does not mean to not be Italian, Spanish or Hungarian. Our country has given a lasting contribution to our identity, which can be then completed but not canceled. It goes that within ourselves exist two identities at the same time, let’s say the Italian and the European one, living together in harmony without mutually exclude in no way. Being European does not mean to be Christian. Religion does not represent (anymore) an essential social or political component of European identity. Therefore, being European means that one is free to believe or to not believe, just as one is free to live and organize his or her life according to this condition. As a consequence, being European means to adapt spontaneously to the natural circumstances that distinguish human beings from each other. People’s life must be respected and protected as such and individually, namely beyond language, gender, religion, culture or country of origin. Being European does not imply a limited geographical space, which means that everyone can be European regardless the place of birth. Being European means to share fundamental values, in turn indispensable to each other, which are: peace, equality, social justice and freedom. There is no peace without freedom, equality and social justice. There is no freedom without peace, social justice and equality, and so on. These values will be never perfectly fulfilled, but what makes them perfect is the permanent and devoted progress towards them. Whoever agrees with these convictions is welcome, whoever repudiates them, should leave our community. Being European means to have full knowledge of European history, the one that, throughout a common path, made Europe the product of different peoples and religions. We left behind war, peace, dissension, friendship, blood and wonderful masterpieces. Denying any of these facts, thus denying cultural, economic and interfaith relations that turned us into one and not into many civilizations, would mean to deny our history and ourselves at last. This is what to be European means. Our times, which see Europe positively realized as never before, call mature European citizens to take a clear and daily responsibility, in order to preserve such richness in our every single thought and action.