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IDM News   Friday, 03 September 2021

Opinion Piece (CoFoE): Despite the current conflict of perceptions, the future of Europe is inevitably post-national



Despite the current conflict of perceptions, the future of Europe is inevitably post-national

Daniel Martínek 

Mindsets, attitudes, opinions, perspectives… every individual perception of the world is strongly influenced by the environment and circumstances in which the personality grows up, lives and is socially active. These personal, and to a certain extent imaginary, constructs then significantly affect the actions of each person. Looking at the socio-political map of Europe, one can observe various patterns of different political, societal, or cultural developments in specific regions. It is precisely this variety of developments linked to diverse contexts that produce differing perceptions that will fundamentally shape the future of Europe and of the European project. Far-reaching global cha(lle)nges affecting our lives are very often - especially in the region of Central, Eastern (CEE) and Southeastern Europe (SEE) - perceived as negative ones not only because of their nature but also due to the unpreparedness of the population for these. For thlatter, these are easily misused by national political elites within their political agendas to create emotionally and non-rationally based constructs with the purpose to cement their path to gaining political power.  

The Covid-19 pandemic proved itself to be another expression of these differing patterns all over Europe when it comes to security, responsibility and solidarity. As it happened already during previous crisis, the nationalist and protectionist forces played a leading role in the management of the state of emergency. However, the future of Europe does not lie in such individual approach based on a nation-state concept. The only answer to the current global challenges we are all facing is a decisive and, above all, collective, jointly organised procedure. The European path of division and national competition that we have witnessed in recent months is in the long-term unsustainable and does not represent an effective tool in understanding and addressing the challenges of our time such as climate change, economic globalisation or demographic shifts. In favour of common solutions, the abandonment of individualism and so-called national sovereignty must be applied in all spheres of human life - both socially and politically.  

In order to achieve this, it is necessary to leave behind the outdated nation-state perception based on strong nationalism and often anti-democratic principles and establish “beyond-the-nation-state" thinking. By doing so, various historical developments and experiences must be taken into account, as well as the current circumstances upon which the main arguments of national conservative and radical (“patriotic”) political groups are based. This is particularly true for the region of CEE and SEE, where divisive identity-based nationalism has strong roots and is being widely practiced. While turning our back on the concept of national sovereignty and identity or various ideological struggles, it is obvious from the very nature of the worldwide challenges that minor states on a comparatively small continent, such as Europe, are not able to deal with the above-mentioned global trends alone. A reality that continues to be misunderstood or disregarded by the population across the continent. Therefore, the European Union must use all its available tools and communication channels, and if necessary, create new ones, to explain and correctly tackle this issue. And even though transnational organisations might be imperfect, the global socio-political developments suggest that the future of Europe is inevitably going to be a post-national, pan-European one.

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What is Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE)?
It is an initiative of the European Parliament and the European Commission with an aim
to promote democracy, build a more resilient Europe and involve citizens as equal partners in the discussion on the future of the EU. Since 19 April 2021 also you can participate through the multilingual digital platform of the Conference.

The platform offers each European citizen the possibility to express their wishes for the future of Europe. Participating is easy: you can share your opinion, react to other citizens’ ideas, moderate your own events, or join live debates and workshops with other citizens. Don’t hesitate to engage in this exciting discussion to shape the Europe of the future!

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