Pan-European identity

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Pan-European identity refers to the sense of personal identification with Europe. The most concrete examples of pan-Europeanism are the European Union (EU) and the older Council of Europe. 'Europe' is widely used as a synonym for the EU, as 500 million Europeans are EU citizens, however many nations that are not part of the EU may have large portions of their populations who identify themselves as European as well as their own nationality. The prefix pan implies that the identity applies throughout Europe, and especially in an EU context, 'pan-European' is often contrasted with national.

The related term Europeanism refers to the assertion that the people of Europe have a distinctive set of political, economic and social norms and values that are slowly diminishing and replacing existing national or state-based norms and values.[1]

Historically, European culture has not led to a geopolitical unit. As with the constructed nation, it might well be the case that a political or state entity will have to prefigure the creation of a broad, collective identity.[2] At present, European integration co-exists with national loyalties and national patriotism.[3]

A development of European identity is regarded[by whom?] as a vital objective in pursuing the establishment of a politically, economically and militarily influential united Europe in the world.[4] It equally importantly supports the foundations of common European values, such as of fundamental human rights and spread of welfare.[4][neutrality is disputed]It also inherently strengthens the supra-national democratic and social institutions of the European Union.[5] The concept of common European identity is viewed as rather a by-product than the main goal of the European integration process, and is actively promoted.[by whom?][4]

History[edit]

A sense of European identity traditionally derives from the idea of a common European historical narrative. In turn, that is assumed to be the source of the most fundamental European values. Typically the 'common history' includes a combination of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the feudalism of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, 19th Century liberalism, Christianity, secularism and (sometimes) negative elements such as colonialism and the World Wars.

Nowadays, European identity is promoted by, among others, the European Commission, and especially their Directorate-General for Education and Culture. They promote this identity and ideology through funding of educational exchange programmes, the renovation of key historical sites, the promulgation of a progressive linear history of Europe terminating in European integration, and through the promotion and encouragement of political integration.

Popular culture[edit]

The common cultural heritage is commonly seen in terms of high culture. Examples of a contemporary pan-European culture are limited to some forms of popular culture:

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the oldest identifiably 'pan-European' elements in popular culture,[6] attracting a huge audience (hundreds of millions) and extensive media coverage each year, with the higher-scoring songs often making an impact in national singles charts. The contest is not run by the EU, but by the entirely separate European Broadcasting Union, and in fact it pre-dates the European Economic Community. It is also open to some non-European countries which are members of the EBU. Some eastern European politicians occasionally take the contest more seriously, seeing the participation of their country as a sign of 'belonging to Europe', and some even going so far to say to consider it a preliminary step to accession to the EU.[7]

Deliberate attempts to use popular culture to promote identification with the EU have been controversial. In 1997, the European Commission distributed a comic strip titled The Raspberry Ice Cream War, aimed at children in schools. The EU office in London declined to distribute this in the UK, due to an expected unsympathetic reception for such views.[8][9]

Sport[edit]

Europe wins 2004 Ryder Cup

Almost all sport in Europe is organised on either a national or sub-national basis. 'European teams' are rare, one example being the Ryder Cup, a Europe vs. United States golf tournament. There have been proposals to create a European Olympic Team, which would break with the existing organisation through National Olympic Committees.[10] Former European Commission President Romano Prodi suggested that EU teams should carry the EU flag, alongside the national flag, at the 2008 Summer Olympics – a proposal which angered eurosceptics.[11][12] According to Eurobarometer surveys, only 5% of respondents think that a European Olympic team would make them feel more of a 'European citizen'.[13]

National teams participate in international competitions, organised by international sport federations, which often have a European section. That results in a hierarchic system of sporting events: national, European, and global. In some cases, the competition has a more 'pan-European' character. Football – Europe's most popular sport – is organised globally by the FIFA, and in Europe by the UEFA. Alongside the traditional national/international organisation, direct competition between major teams at pan-European level has become more important. (High national ranking is necessary to enter the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League). Super-clubs such as Real Madrid CF, F.C. Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Liverpool F.C., Chelsea F.C., Manchester United F.C., A.C. Milan, Juventus F.C., Inter Milan, S.L. Benfica, F.C. Porto are known all over Europe, and are seen as each other's competitors, in UEFA's European tournaments. (Major clubs are now large businesses in themselves, and have expanded beyond the national sponsoring market).

Queering the European Identity[edit]

In Fatima El-Tayeb’s text, European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe, she is committed to "move beyond the national paradigm" in order to "break with its internalist tradition" and create a "postnational Europeanization" that offers "a chance to include formely excluded populations and narratives".[14] A space that might offer this opportunity is in international, but more specifically European futbol. What is fascinating is the number of bodies of color who play in Europe, as European nationals. This fact completely disrupts the homogenous European identity. For example, Jerome Boateng is a German international with a German mother and Ghanaian father. Also, Mario Ballotelli is an Italian international of Ghanaian parents. These are just two examples, but it is worthy to ask how these "other" Europeans claim the futbol field as a space of national belonging? This space is a site where the histories of colonialism, labor migrations, and racism haunt the homogenous European identity. Unfortunately, El-Tayeb cautions the reader that there is yet another potential problem that arises from these spaces of national belonging, which seems as a direct response or solution to the haunting. While "other" Europeans lay claim to a European homeland, "the vast majority of mainstream responses manifests the failure to envision the postnational, inclusive Europe...The forcible forgetting of race within the European Union is a process not only kept alive by governmental policies, but also by the willfull blind spots in mainstream media analysis as well as in discourses from the left".[15] This problem arises in the form of racist chants from futbol fans in the stadium that are directly targeted to the perceived "non-European." These racist acts by the “European identity” towards the “other” Europeans, of darker hue, have been documented tirelessly and reinforce the structures in which a homogenous European identity is upheld.

Symbols[edit]

The following symbols are used mainly by the European Union and the Council of Europe:

  • A flag, the European flag – officially used by the European Union and the Council of Europe along with other inter-European institutions.
  • An anthem, Ode to Joy – national anthem for all Council of Europe members and the European Union.
  • A national day, Europe day (9 May) – as for the flag and the anthem.
  • A single currency, the euro – the euro has been adopted by some countries outside of the EU, but not by all EU member states in the bloc. As of 2014, 18 of 28 member states have adopted the euro as their official currency. Most EU members will have to adopt the Euro when their economies meet the criteria, however the United Kingdom and Denmark have opt-out agreements.
  • Vehicle registration plates mostly share the same common EU design since 1998.
  • Driving licences share a single common design since 1980, and from 2013 there will be a unique, plastic credit card-like design inside the EU.
  • EU member states use a common passport design, burgundy coloured with the name of the member state, Coat of Arms and the title "European Union" (or its translation).
  • The Schengen Area allows the citizens of the signing members to travel from any of their countries to each other without the need of passport.
  • Other: Erasmus academic scheme, European registration numbers, separate EU corridor at airports[4]

The .eu domain name extension was introduced in 2005 as a new symbol of European Union identity on the World Wide Web. The .eu domain's introduction campaign specifically uses the tagline "Your European Identity" . Registrants must be located within the European Union.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John McCormick, Europeanism (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  2. ^ Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, 1983
  3. ^ "The supranational prospect held out by the EU appears to be threatened.... by a deficiency of European identity, in striking contrast to the continuing vigour of national identities, ...." Anne-Marie Thiesse. Inventing national identity. [1]
  4. ^ a b c d European identity: construct, fact and fiction Dirk Jacobs and Robert Maier Utrecht University [2]
  5. ^ "Crowdfunding and Civic Society in Europe: A Profitable Partnership?". Open Citizenship Journal. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Eurovision is something of a cultural rite in Europe."
  7. ^ "We are no longer knocking at Europe’s door," declared the Estonian Prime Minister after his country’s victory in 2001. "We are walking through it singing... The Turks saw their win in 2003 as a harbinger of entry into the EU, and after the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, tonight’s competition is a powerful symbol of Viktor Yushchenko’s pro-European inclinations." Oj, oj, oj! It's Europe in harmony. The Times, 21 May 2005. ""This contest is a serious step for Ukraine towards the EU," Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko said at the official opening of the competition." BBC, Ukrainian hosts' high hopes for Eurovision [3]
  8. ^ [4][dead link]
  9. ^ "Captain Euro". The Yes Men. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "European Olympic Team". Archived from the original on 31 March 2006. Retrieved 7 February 2006. 
  11. ^ Cendrowicz, Leo (1 March 2007). "United in Europe". European Voice: 12. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Olympics: Prodi wants to see EU flag next to national flags". EurActiv. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  13. ^ Eurobarometer 251, p 45, [5].
  14. ^ Fatima El-Tayeb, European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 18.
  15. ^ Ibid