Is European Identity Imagined Or Real?

2021 words - 9 pages

The integration process in Europe attempts to create the largest legally and economically integrated political system. At the beginning of the integration, a number of community countries were smaller than the current European Union. Currently it has 28 member states; Croatia was the final state that joined EU in July 2013. The European Union has a population of over 503 million inhabitants.
“European Identity”
The adoption of the “Declaration on the European Identity” in 1973 was the first step to creating a common identity shared by citizens in European Community. The member states shared “the same attitudes to life, based on a determination to build a society which measures up to the needs of the individual” (Kockel and Nic Craith et al., 2012; also mentioned in Bellier and Wilson, 2000; Shore, 1993). This thought was supported 2 years later (1975) in Tindemans Report that achieves European solidarity in everyday life. The notion of European identity having been created by Commission bureaucrats became presented as a fixed, bounded and natural category.
Maastricht’s treaty from 1992 is one of the most important documents for the EU. Cultural policies claim that “Contribute the flowering of the cultures of Member states while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bring their common cultural heritage to the fore” (Kockel and Nic Craith et al., 2012). In the treaty it is also pointed out that in order to be a European citizen, a person has to be a native of one of the member states of the EU. The EU attempts to establish the same rules and codes of behaviour between States.
Issues of identity and nationality in Europe have been complicated by social changes, especially after 1989 (the break-up of the Soviet Union, the ending of the cold war, the re-unification of Germany) that follow the emergence of new identities; new borderlands and new categories such as insiders vs outsiders, xenophobia and racism. Social changes also lead to the problem of identity → ethnic; national; European? (Shore, 1993).
European identity is being shaped within the EU and combines the elements of geography, history, culture and politics. National histories or myths and their public visualization (monuments, museums, galleries), educational curricula, patterns of religion, official recognized and standardized language became core components of culture that defines the roots of identity (Bellier and Wilson, 2000). Identity is closely related to collective identification such as collective memories and codified everyday knowledge (Kraus, 2008).
Citizens of the European Union will have the issue of acknowledging their national identity as well as their European identity and this can lead to a sense of double belonging (for example British and European). However there is no conflict of interest or rival claim over loyalty to belong to all sorts of associations and to feel identification with many different levels of integration. Recent...

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