EUrope is a dream. A perfect dream. A dream of freedom, democracy and pursuit of happiness.
Whenever I travelled outside my country, into the EU, I never had a bad experience. I was never discriminated against, I was not chased down the streets, I was never bullied or ill treated by anybody. I have friends who did though. Just as I know people that rightfully deserved what they got. There is a great deal to discuss when it comes to the EU. About the past, the present and more so about the future. But the most important part of this union are the people.
It’s not about borders, it’s not about imaginary lines drawn on maps by countless conflicts and negotiations over hundreds of years. It can’t be. Even cross-border cooperation programs set up by the EU recognize that. There is no such thing as an imaginary line that separates people’s thoughts, language and lifestyles. In reality all these “borders” are much more diffuse. Have you ever tried watercolor painting? You must have, at least in school at some point – colors always mix at edges of wet areas. You can always do this experiment at home, even now. It’s the same with people.
Borders are artificially imposed. They are a man made creation. Separating political influence and users of one coin from the other. They separate users of one language or dialect from users of another language or dialect. They separate areas with different taxation, or areas where social benefits are different. They separate people – that is what we do. We build borders to separate ourselves from other people. For various reasons. Most of them man made themselves.
A good friend of mine, a planner also, has a catch phrase that he uses all the time – the map is not the territory. And he is right. You can make this claim about the EU also. The map is not the territory. It suffices to look around – people outside the borders of the union want to be inside – Serbia has begun accession talks, in Ukraine the people in Kiev’s Euromaidan struggle for the same goal. Because EUrope is a dream. A dream of a better world, a better life, a dream of freedom.
You can’t put a price on a dream. It is impossible. 10 years ago, for me, Europe was a dream. We still had 3 years to go before becoming part of the Union. 15 years ago Europe was a more distant dream, one that you carry around with you and hope it’s going to come true. And it did. And now this dreams is being thrashed all around the Union. Why?
What happened to the dreamers that got here, that saw their dream fulfilled? It might be easier for those of us that joined in 2004 & 2007 & 2013. We’ve seen the other side, we’ve been in the dark for some very very long years. Most of those that were there from the beginning can’t even imagine how it was. But we are here today. People. 507 million of us. Sharing a common dream, that is EUrope.
Sure enough there are things that don’t work, not as well as we would like them too. Sure there are things we still need to figure out. The dream got us this far. From this point on it’s up to us.
The EP elections are coming. In less than 5 months. Most of us will face a choice – to keep on working for this dream or to give up. But we will be also voting for people. People that will be entrusted with taking care of this dream.
The next months will flood us with debates. We’ll be hearing a lot about this or that problem, this or that policy, this or that fault in this EUrope that we are building. And we have plenty of time to thing about it until then, and I urge everybody to think. To set aside measly politicians, alarmists and populists. Think about the future.
And while you’re at it, think that last night, somebody you don’t know, somebody you most likely never will know, not even by name, died in Kiev for the dream that is EUrope. Not for a border, not for a citizenship, but for a dream.