What does Europe mean to you?

Identity. Freedom of movement. Hope. (Terry Reintke, Berlin, Germany)

Europe means to me unity. Together, we’re stronger. It means a lot of democratic liberties and human rights. (Maarten from Flanders, Belgium)

Unity. Peace. Solidarity. Participation. Transparency. Common progress. Fresh spirit. Opportunities No borders. Reaching out to help. An example…..a challenge, a call for action! (Maria MAGGIE Dokupilova from Slovakia/ Prague, Czech Republic)

Despite Europe’s relatively small size, it is to me a place of great diversity, where with the emergence of the European Union a unique and promising project has been started. Of course, Europe is far more than European Union, but it has affects on all countries on the continent. And I am not only observing this process – I am part of it. My whole life is somehow intertwined with European integration – beginning with the fall of the Iron Curtain just one year after my birth, over the introduction of a common European currency until my ERASMUS-year in Prague. Recently, I got also more involved in green European politics via FYEG as I am feeling the responsibility to work against the stagnation and regression of the last years with a different, green and solidary idea of Europe. (Norma Tiedemann from Leipzig, Germany)

The EU is a fat, old body that only cares about economy. (Martin Neukom from Switzerland)

Europe is the biggest chance we have to overcome war and nationalism and thus probably the most important project for post World War Two Europe, with which we have to carry on. At the same time, Europe is also a project of neoliberals in which merchandise is more important than people and which leads to non-transparent decisions being made (Michael Bloss currently living in New York)

 

For me Europe is the continent that has the unprecedented chance of being politically united, ensuring long-term peace, rule of law, democracy, environmental sustainability, social justice and economic welfare for all people living within it, while having positive influence on the rest of the world to follow this example and as such learned from mistakes and from the atrocities it inflicted on others in the past. (Jakob Schwarz from Vienna, Austria)

 

Which influence does the financial crisis exert on your life?

 

 

The financial crisis means that I get a higher student loan because my father lost his job. (Anonymous)

I am one of the lucky ones who have a satisfying job. But the way to it was not easy. I was also forced to swim in the sea of insufficient inadequate opportunities and my budget was very very low. The crisis hit my family, me, my friends, who experienced „last-in-first-out” principle, face structural barriers like inexperience , over-qualification for a job… Young people around me are forced to stay in academic sphere and keep educating themselves, because the university is the only place they feel being useful, active and developing. They try to avoid situation of being stuck as unemployed sitting at home, walking the streets with their head down… (Maria MAGGIE Dokupilova from Slovakia/ Prague, Czech Republic)

For a long time it seemed as if Germany could keep its „crisis – which crisis?“-attitude forever and therefore I was personally not really feeling affected by the economical downturn. But protests, also against the politics of the German government, within Europe are growing, young people in Spain, Greece or Portugal have to face incredible high unemployment rates, also here incomes are decreasing, while wealth is growing and concentrating among a small proportion of the population. Injustice and undemocratic procedures prevail without being unchallenged and this makes me deeply unsatisfied. I think that we need to start showing solidarity and act against the split of the European society. So the crisis taught me a lot about financial systems, banks and economy and highly politicized my thinking towards a more European perspective. (Norma Tiedemann from Leipzig, Germany)

The financial crisis doesn’t really have an influence on my life (yet). I have a job with a decent income. I don’t have any hunger and I still can buy a lot of luxury product if I want to. But I think it’s really unfair that American rating agencies have such a big influence on our stock markets with a bunch of untruthful opinions. (Maarten from Flanders, Belgium)

Directly the crises has not affected me that much personally but indirectly I really disgust the whole nationalist and chauvinist discourse about the broke Greeks etc. (Jan Stich from Mainz, Germany)

The financial crisis exerts little direct influence on my life, apart from the relatively high levels of inflation, which are at least partly due to ECB interventions. Indirectly I’m of course affected in many different ways. (Jakob Schwarz from Vienna, Austria)

Fear of poverty suddenly plays a role among my friends. (Terry Reintke from Berlin, Germany)

Politicians are saving money everywhere out of fear. This affects us all because it is causing more crises. (Martin Neukom, Schweiz)

 

The special thing about this crises is that it does not only affect people financially but also psychologically in the sense that the fear of unemployment frightens people so much that they become a-political, mainstream and focused on their “employability”. (Michael Bloss from Germany)

 

What does the future of Europe look like for you? 

 

Democratic, sustainable and fair. A Europe for everyone. (Martin Neukom, Switzerland)

I see a fair Europe, using its amazing resources, capacities wisely and efficiently, Europe giving its citizens the power to make changes and to influence decisions, Europe supporting sustainable projects, Europe with no place for corruption and discrimination, Europe with equal opportunities for everyone.(Maria MAGGIE Dokupilova from Slovakia/ Prague, Czech Republic)

It annoys me that so many people discuss whether we need more or less Europe. Europe is no question of quantity, but of quality. What we need is a more democracy, more solidarity and a socially more just Europe. (Jan Stich from Mainz, Germany)

In my world of Utopia, Europe will be a federal country with the outlines of a welfare state with about 30 states. On federal level we will have at least the federal budget, social security and defense. Our elections will be, next to local and state elections, with a European list. (Maarten from Flanders, Belgium)

The carbon-neutral EU will stretch out over the entire continent and beyond, will be a perfect example for subsidiary federalism. It will incorporate important elements of a federalist Europe, like a transnational constituency at Parliamentary elections, transnational infrastructure, and all people will share at least one language. At the same time power will lie in decentralized local political structures, all people will be heavily involved in the decision making of the most participatory democracy in the world. (Jakob Schwarz from Vienna, Austria)

 

The idea of a unified Europe is too strong to dissolve itself, we are already too deeply involved to neglect the struggle for shared values and common politics for the well-being of European populations. Almost nothing is discussed at the moment without reference to the European dimension – I hope we will achieve a situation, where we not only recognize these relations, but also start taking over responsibility for each other to finally overcome the narrow and dangerous thinking in terms of nation-state-solidarity. (Norma Tiedemann from Leipzig, Germany)

Now it’s time for fantasy 🙂 It would be enough for me if transport connections would be optimized and people can take up chances in regions that are 30km away from their door; thus is able to communicate in the language and have basic knowledge of neighbor regions. I prefer a living together as equals in dignity, combining diversity and freedom whatever the consequences may be. (Kalle Kosthorst from Maastricht, Netherlands)