Where DOES EUROPE END?
Results Booklet 2009-2012
Where Does Europe End was a project of AEGEE-Europe between 2009-2012. Its aim was to examine the ways in which young people perceive Europe both form a pragmatic and ideological point of view, with its physical boundaries and cultural diversity which render it unique. ÂŠ AEGEE-Europe
CONTENTS Words of Welcome........................... Introduction..................................... Where Does Europe End?................ Events............................................ Results........................................... Closing Words................................. Ekaterinburg....................................
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lavinia Manea EDITORS Katarzyna Bitka Percin Imrek Juan Sordo Barreiro
2 5 9 12 30 40 42
PROOFREADERS Percin Imrek
Juan Sordo Barreiro Casper Wolf
Katarzyna Bitka Lavinia Manea Alperen Yavuz
PHOTO RESPONSIBLE WDEE Participants
STATISTICS & RESEARCH Katarzyna Bitka
Juan Sordo Barreiro
COMITE DIRECTEUR MEMBERS Luis Alvarado Martinez
DESIGNER Erman Berkay
WORDS OF WELCOME
WORDS OF WELCOME I am not a father yet, but the Where Does Europe End project was my first child, which I have seen to be born, grow and become an adult. Now, I can proudly watch what it has become. The Where Does Europe End project had a very big family, with many people contributing to it, working hard for it and putting effort to make sure it reaches the stage it has reached now. The project consisted in a series of eight international events in seven different countries, got more than 3000 survey responses from young Europeans and inspired more than 300 young people who participated in our event. I would like to thank everyone that became a part of this project and contributed to it. I am grateful to my fellow team members for their dedication, to our participants for their enthusiasm and to everyone
who contributed in a way or another to this project. I would also like to thank my mother, who has always inspired me, to my father, my role model, whom I lost during the project and to all those who contributed to during these three years.
Words of Welcome Where Does Europe End took a considerable amount of effort, time and energy in its three years life span. Nonetheless, we have received more than we have given, both professionally and personally, and we believe that each participant who became a part of this .project would agree with us too As already mentioned, the project consisted of eight successful conferences in seven different countries and had its fiinal event in Utrecht, with active participants, great organisation and a very good content, thanks to the work of AEGEE-Utrecht and the support of the Dutch National Agency.
We are very happy that we reached our goals, and now we are putting this booklet at your disposal, where we will be more than happy to share our experiences, results, knowledge and stories with you. This booklet is made by us for you, to give a better understanding to the question Where Does Europe End? in peopleâ€™s minds when it comes to the understanding of Europe in different aspects.
itself, but it shows what the Europeans think when it comes to this question. I hope you will enjoy this booklet as much as we enjoyed being a part of this project. We also hope that upon reading this booklet you will feel as inspired as those who became apart of this project.
This booklet will give a to all the history of the project, to the seminars given by experts, interviews made with important personalities and surveys done by thousands of people in different countries. This project does not answer the question 'Where Does Europe End?' in 3
WORDS OF WELCOME
Luis Alvarado Martinez PRESIDENT OF AEGEE-EUROPE Dear reader, AEGEE-Europe / European Students' Forum has been a key player for the last twenty eight years in the European Integration process from a student perspective. Since our foundation in 1985 in Paris, we have been bringing Europe directly to students, creating all over the continent a feeling of ownership towards the European dream, providing them with the space and opportunities to forget what are the divisions between them, and making them aware of what unites us all: a common European project. Since our very beginning, AEGEE-Europe has pursued its dream of a borderless Europe, deciding to skip national levels in our internal structure, to prevent the national feelings from blocking the European sentiment in our young citizens. AEGEE-Europe has developed European citizens, true believers in Schuman´s dream, who later grew attached to the idea of a United Europe, free of mental and artiÿcial barriers. A Europe of tolerance, respect, solidarity and transnational cooperation. With our ”Where Does Europe End?” project, we have explored, researched and interviewed young people all around the continent, going beyond the borders of the European Union, and asking citizens for their opinion on the limits and borders of the European project. Are they in Turkey? Or maybe in the Caucasus? Where is the EU Enlargement red line drawn? 4
These questions we have explored, finding incredible results which gave us a lot of food for thought. How European does a Turkish citizen feel? How European is a student from the Caucasus region compared to a student from France, Estonia or Hungary? By reading this booklet you will discover revealing insights on the EU Enlargement process, you will read about how the ownership feeling on EU is experienced by citizens from different regions, and the effect of European history, religion and other social factors will be all considered when thinking until where do we want to walt together as Europe. The booklet is filled with insights from young leaders, those who will be taking over Europe in the upcoming years and who are already shaping our continent. With these final words I invite you to dive into the conclusions of this project of AEGEE-Europe / European Students´ Forum, which received the support and patronage of the Cabinet of Commissioners of the European Commission President, José Manuel Durão Barroso and former President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek.
Team members My name is Percin Imrek and I have recently turned twenty six. I am from Istanbul, Turkey, but I have lived abroad for the last four years in Germany, France and for the most of it, Belgium. I have recently graduated from a master programme in Political and Administrative Studies at the College of Europe in Brugge, Belgium. I have also had working experience, while I have worked as a journalist, trainer, interpreter and project coordinator in different companies and institutes. I speak English, French and German. Currently I am doing my military service in the Turkish Air Force as a sergeant. I founded the WDEE project and I have worked as
project manager for the most partof it contributing to organizing all the main events of the project. This project helped me see that there is a plethora of different perspectives on what Europe is: what it consists of and what it represents. These differences are to be found not only between countries, but also within these, fostered by the diverse background of their citizens. There is not a single answer to the question ‘where does Europe end?’, but this is just what makes this project interesting and important.
My name is Lavinia Manea, I am twenty seven years old, member of AEGEE Bucuresti, originally from Constanta, Romania. I hold two bachelor degrees in Foreign Languages, one master degree in International Relations and European Integration and I’m currently studying International Relations and Diplomacy at the College of Europe, in Bruges. Previous to this, I acquired working experience both in the private and the public sector, while interning for various NGOs, for the Embassy of Greece and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I have a strong interest in foreign languages (I’ve studied ten of them) and I’ve always seen international volunteering as a way of giving and taking, of working for acause and growing personally and
professionally. This is the reason for which three years ago I joined the WDEE team and became External Relations Responsible, as well as one of the trainers/ facilitators of our events events, throughout the whole duration of the project. The WDEE project has proven to be a life- changing experience, not only because it enabled me to work with and for young people from Europe and beyond, but also because it opened my eyes as to just how diverse people are, and what a gift and a challenge that can be.
Percin IMREK PROJECT FOUNDER
Lavinia MANEA EXTERNAL RELATIONS RESPONSIBLE
My name is Katarzyna Bitka and I am twenty three years old and I am a member of AEGEE Krakow. I am originally from Opole, Poland, and I currently live, study and work in Warsaw. I hold a bachelor degree in Applied Linguistics and I am currently enrolled in a bachelor programme in International Economics. Apart from that, I am employed as a Research Assistant at the Royal Danish Embassy in Warsaw. My adventure with the Where Does Europe End? project started when I joined the kick-off conference of the project in Koszeg, Hungary. I found the project inspiring and decided to join the team when the open call was launched. I have been selected to become a part of I am Juan Sordo Barreiro, from AEGEE-Oviedo and I am already thirty years old. I was born and raised in Gijon, Spain, where I studied Computer Science Engineering. Presently I live and work in Madrid. After my Erasmus in Slovakia I was eager to discover what Europe has to offer, so I joined AEGEE. Joining as the IT and designer was a great experience, not only because of my responsibilities but mainly due to the great team I was working with. After some time in the project, I took over as project manager for a year due to resignation of the original project manager. During my time in WDEE I realized that the concept of 6
the team as the Documentation Responsible. Since then, I was the person responsible for the design of our survey, for street actions during events, evaluation of the results and personal interviews with our speakers. This project strengthened in me the belief that people of all nationalities, views and ages can find common vision and that unity in Europe is very possible. At the same time, however, it showed me some sensitive issues and allowed me to recognize the layers of culture which differentiate Europe and its neighbors. I hope reading this booklet will also help you understand that.
Katarzyna BITKA DOCUMENTATION RESPONSIBLE
Europe is a lot more complicated than most of thepeople think. I could say that thanks to this project I discovered unique points of view of people from many different countries (through questionnaires, interviews,talks, etc) which broadened not only my idea of Europe, but also my knowledge about it. Enjoy this booklet as much as we enjoyed discovering all these things.
Juan SORDO BARREIRO IT RESPONSIBLE and PROJECT MANAGER
Hello all! I am Alperen Yavuz from Istanbul, Turkey. I am studying Electronics Engineering in Istanbul Technical University. I have been a European volunteer for the last 5 years. On my journey, i have met ‘Where Does Europe End?’ project and i have joined the team at the end of 2010. I have been Treasurer and Fund Raising responsible ever since then. I am pretty sure that this project has changed many people’s life, like it did to me. Questioning about the topic of being European and ‘Where should we call Europe borders?’ kind of questions made me realize, noone had real answers. Raising awareness in youth and maybe questioning about Europe made us all
think about European identity and integration also. Besides having this wonderful team and gaining experience on the way, made it more worth it. This project proved it to be useful for European identity and learning all the stuff were interesting.
Alperen Yavuz FUND RAISING RESPONSIBLE
WDEE would not have been possible without: Those who started this project: Mario Gluseppe Varrenti, Italy - March 2009 - August 2009 Dora Monogylou, Greece - March 2009 - October 2009 Fernando Martin, Spain - March 2009 - December 2009 Thomas Leszke, Germany - March 2009 - August 2010 Orsolya Cziraki, Hungary - March 2009 - January 2011 Casper Wolf, The Netherlands - March 2009 - January 2011 Perçin Imrek, Turkey - March 2009 - December 2012
Those who contributed
to the project as team members at a given point:
Nolwenn Donsimoni, France Jovona Milic, Serbia Alperen Yavuz, Turkey Magda Kasprzyk, Poland Aiicia Quiroga, Spain
And those who finished it: Katarzyna Bitka, Poland - November 2009 - December 2012 Lavinia Manea, Romania - November 2009 - December 2012 Juan Sordo, Spain - August 2010 - December 2012 7
In the time that elapsed from the initiation of the project at the beginning of 2009, until the making of this final booklet in 2013, many different people have worked on the project. Each one of them brought an important contribution to what WDEE has become, either by developing the project itself, or by contrbuting on a temporary basis, to one of its international events. We, as core team members are both happy and grateful for these achievements and for having been able to work with so many capable and enthusiastic European students, both members and non-members of AEGEE. The project was initiated by Percin Imrek, then projects director of the Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe, who was inspired by another member of AEGEE, Olivier Genkin. The basic idea for this new project concerned the borders of Europe. The interest for this subject was not only the result of the interest of AEGEE members regarding the question
which countries do and which countries do not belong to the European continent. The AEGEE network had gotten requests, at that time, from possible new contact antennae located as far as in Perm, Central Russia. Six enthusiastic AEGEE members were selected to form the first project team out of many who expressed their motivation and interest. The relevance of this project was reflected by the geographical spread of the countries of origin of the project members, such as Turkey, Hungary, Spain and the Netherlands. This team met for the first time in March 2009 in Brussels and discussed the set up of the project, what we understood under the concept of the borders of Europe and task division. Our main goal was to find an answer to the question
Where Does Europe End? This “End” could be understood in different ways, namely in terms of both the future of the relationship between European and the EU and where the border of the European continent is, where it crossed over to another continent. We decided that the views from professors and politicians would become input for discussions between our participants. The discussion we had during that weekend led to the conclusion that we most probably would not find an absolute answer to the question “Where Does Europe End?”, and if we asked citizens across the continent, the answer would differ from person to person. In our view it would thus be worthwhile to focus on gathering views of (young) people across the continent and see how these views differed and how these views overlapped with each other.
That weekend in March 2009 was the beginning of the project that would be in existence for many years. It also gave us a boost to the start working on realizing our first event and the project as a whole. The short period of time we had to discuss this new project meant that these discussions continued after we had to depart for our separate homes. This led to the first, and very successful, event of the Where Does Europe End-project in Köszeg (Hungary), where after the discussion on the scope of the project and how the question should be addressed continued with many new views from participants from the participants of our ÿrst event.
This project could not have come to being if it were not for the AEGEE antennae, volunteers and participants. We would thus like to thank hereby: AEGEE-Pecs, AEGEE-Izmir, AEGEERiga, AEGEE-Leon, AEGEE-Lund, AEGEE- Las Palmas, AEGEE-München, AEGEE-Utrecht, our trainers' teams which gave the project team valuable help and input, Erman Berkay for designing this booklet, Luis Estefano for designing our online survey, the members of Comité Directeur who helped us over the years, all our faithful supporters, all antennae who helped with our Youth in Action efforts, and all AEGEE members who have supported us in many ways over the years!
WHERE DOES EUROPE END?
Where does Europe END? 9
WHERE DOES EUROPE END?
The Where Does Europe End project was born in early 2009 in Brussels during a conversation among experienced AEGEE members about the borders of Europe. One of them decided to take action and founded this project, with a team of seven international AEGEE members. The team has changed over time, but the common effort of achieving the project's goals inspired all people involved and strenghtened the relationship between them. The objectives of the project also evolved, but always fluctuated around the same aim: to discover the physical and mental borders of Europe in people's perception.
Where Does Europe End?
The team, as well as the project's followers were all concerned with the question of European awareness and identity as well as the future of European integration. When the project was being designed we, the core team, concluded that there is no consensus among the Europeans about the borders of Europe, especially on the Southern and Eastern one. What is more, the criteria defining the â€žEuropean Identityâ€? and the notion itself were not very clear, 10
and therefore the integration, as well as expansion processes in Europe could be undermined. We also believed that integration in Europe was a necessary component of Europe's global success, provided it encompassed all citizens and not just the elites. Finally, the original team of the project noticed the lack of proactive involvement of citizens in European affairs, as well as lack of reflection on the fundamental issues related to European identity.
In order to address these issues, goals of the project were formulated, together with more detailed, practical objectives to be fulfilled. We formulated three general goals, trying to make them precise and realistic. Our first goal was to examine the ways in which young people perceive Europe: its limits, identity, founding values and uniqueness. We decided to focus on young people as this is the group on which AEGEE focuses its activity and for which the result of our research could be the most representative. We decided we would try to fulfill this aim by doing surveys in cities, with local people as respondents during the events, by carrying out online surveys and doing personal interviews with people involved in the topic, having a significant knowledge or original opinions about Europe. We have fulfilled all three of these objectives, and the results of our research are gathered in this booklet. The second goal we embarked on, was to trigger interest and stimulate debate among young people, by including them in our conferences, lectures and discussions. This aim was to be achieved throughshowing youth opinion on the European issues related to the project, though direct confrontation on the latter with young people during our street interviews and through inclusion of external youth in our lectures and seminars.
We have managed to fulfill all these objectives, publishing newsletters, writing event blogs popularised through social media and mailings, meeting and discussing with people on the streets during all events and inviting external people for some parts of the program of our conferences, notably during the last event, in Utrecht.
WHERE DOES EUROPE END?
Our third goal consisted in, empowering and encouraging young people to be active as European citizens. This was to be done by events organised involving local young people, by training and instructing young leaders to understand Europe, its identity and origins and by spreading the results of our work. We quite succeeded in this regard as well, involving eight different local AEGEE branches in contributing to the project, and training young people from countless locations on the different aspects of the issues addressed by the project. Finally, we are issuing this publication to spread the results of our work. We hope it will be an inspiring source of thoughts on European identity, a strong testimonial of activites undertaken within the project and a valuable publication serving as food for thought for future young European thinkers. Katarzyna BITKA DOCUMENTATION RESPONSIBLE
EVENTS Since the very beginning of the project, events were to be the most intense and impactful part of our activity. From the very beginning, we were planning to have numerous conferences in different corners of the continent, and we have quite succeeded, with eight events in locations ranging from Leon in the West to Izmir in the East, and from Lund in the North to Las Palmas in the South. We were very privileged to have received funding for most of our events from the Youth in Action program.
in this booklet.
The diversity of the selected locations was in line with one of our project’s aims: to collect the views on Europe from young citizens of different countries, and to meet them, inspiring them to give a further thought to their idea of Europe. During these interactions we, our participants and our interlocutors could observe the different levels of awareness on European issues, conflicting views and ideas on its limits and various levels of importance prescribed to different elements of what constitutes European identity. A more in-depth Leon description of the resultsof our reerach can be found further on,
Another important dimension of the events were the themes we chose to approach. The project itself was organised as a series of events with both a fixed and a variable dimension. If the fixed part consisted in carrying out street surveys, the variable one consisted in a special thematic focus which changed from one event to another. In this context, we always tried to define a specific topic for each event, which would address the important determinants of European identity, one at a time. Therefore, we discussed European Integration in Turkey, talking about the limits of EU enlargements and European identity contrasted with that of outside countries. We talked about Regionalism in Leon, to see different layers of identities: European, national and local, along with the ways in which they overlap. In Ogre, we approached Multilingualism, as one of the key elements making communication and understanding in Europe difficult. In Lund, our focus was on Human Rights, to reflect upon their role in constructing the European identity.
In Las Palmas, History was on the agenda, in order for us to see how European history affects the percept In Munich and in Utrecht we gathered all these ideas together, to give closure to the project. We have thou themes, and probably, there is an indeÿnite number of them. Still, in our view the choice was diverse and w to the different locations, and therefore quite enriching. 12
Where S Europe
Finally, the events were an excellent occasion to truly experience European diversity, with participants coming from all over Europe. The participants would always build lasting relationships, allowing them to perceive Europe more like their home, and Europeans more like their family. Many of our followers joined us on more than one event, and visited our workshops during AEGEE statutory meetings. We would like to thank again all those who contributed to the success of our events – the organizers, the participants and the sub-team members for different conferences. Without you, it would not have been possible. In the following chapter, you will ÿnd more detailed descriptions of each event.
6 Lund 4 Ogre
WDEE Events Map
tions of the current state of affairs. ught about many more welladopted 13
6 Lund 4
When you start such an ambitious project as this one, the ÿrst event is of crucial importance. All your ideas are put to the test, and you will see if you are ready or not. It was therefore with quite some anxiety, but even greater anticipation that we looked forward to our “kick-off conference” in the beautiful Hungarian town of Kőszeg. 14
Being the first conference of the WDEE series, our programme included a great diversity of activities aimed at paving the way to more detailed thematic debates during future events. Our main aim with this conference was, apart from the general purpose of getting the project started, to get as many people as possible interested in the question of European identity, to make them familiar with our approach, and build some sort of task force all over the continent that we could rely on in the future. This proved to be very successful, not only because many of the participants got involved again in later conferences, but most of all because soon after the event, two extremely valuable girls joined our team and became strong pillars of our project. What is it that we did exactly? The programme already showed
EVENTS the characteristic structure that formed the blueprint for all following conferences, consisting of a thematic academic part with lectures and discussions on the one hand, and a more social and interactive, but nonetheless essential part with street actions and, most importantly, the survey which we were planning to carry out in every single venue of our project's conferences. A good and representative illustration of this mix is the programme for Saturday, 26th September:
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast 09:15 – 12:30 Street Action 12:30 – 14:00 Lunch 14:30 – 15:45 EU and the Business World 16:00 – 18:00 Debate: Lisbon Treaty (should the Irish vote in favour or not?)
Having nearly fourty young people from over fifteen different European countries working on the same matter is a challenge in itself. But that is exactly the hidden purpose of every event such as this one: young people are confronted with different opinions, different ways of thinking, different lifestyles, even contradicting knowledge about the same facts. They are forced to explain themselves, to convince others, to adopt credible positions, to find compromises and accept others with all their differences. In this regard, our conference was particularly successful, being carried by a positive atmosphere that integrated everyone from the start, grew with every day, and resulted in many friendships that last until today. The conference closed with the assembly of the results after an exciting trip to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, where we
conducted another street action in order to find the differences between the views of cosmopolitan Hungarians from the capital and their more provincial counterparts. Here we had to realise that our methodology needed improvement, as the results were difficult to evaluate because of the many tourists that had been surveyed. Yet, the outcomes still allowed for an interesting discussion about the great variety of opinions that exist about Europe, and if one thing is certain, then it is the fact that we all learned more than we had imagined – which is especially true for us, the team, who came back with a lot of new ideas of how to develop the project further.
Thomas Leszke FORMER TEAM MEMBER
It was a unique experience to have our second event in Turkey, a non-EU country. The topic we decided to choose for Where Does Europe End in Izmir, is easy to guess for many: EU Enlargement and European Integration. Throughout the fourty years’ long-lasting relationship, Turkey and the EU have been through a lot, agreeing and disagreeing on a wide range of topics. As a consequence, this relationship does not seem to come to a resolution and This is precisely why it was very interesting to go to Izmir and ask Turkish people ‘Where Does Europe End?’in their view.
6 Lund 4
The thematic part of the event gave the opportunitto focus on EU enlargement both from a general and a more specific point of view. The general focus included issues related to the meaning and implications of EU citizenship, while the specific focus addressed controversies related to Turkey’s access to the EU, tackled both separately, and in comparison with other prospective candidate
2 Izmir 16
countries, such as those from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. As for the result of the street survey, the answers we received from the Turkish people were very interesting. Even though they hardly circled UK on the European Map survey, many of them (23%) said that UK was the first country that came to their minds when talking about ‘Europe’. Many Turkish people however, did not include Turkey on the map of Europe. Most of them even said that Turkey does not need Europe, but on the contrary, Europe needs Turkey more. We believe that the economic crisis in the EU is a major factor in this statement of Turkish people. It was also surprising that Turkish people disregarded Belgium, the heart of the European Institutions, hardly mentioning it during the interviews. This brought us to the conclusion that for Turkish
people, it is the power of thecountry that counts more than its location or the institutios it hosts. Having a strong and mixed cultural background, Turkish people agreed (43%) that ‘culture’ is the most important indicator that makes a country European. European. Additionally, the majority (58%) agreed that Turkey should enter EU as it is for the benefit of both sides. Even after this exhausting process, Turkish people are willing to continue this relationship. Apart from our surveys, we had a lot of interesting debates and workshops with our participants from all over Europe. The good chemistry and the composition of the group was a major contributor in the success of WDEE-Izmir, both content and interaction- wise.
This event, like other WDEE events, managed to influence directly around fourty young people and indirectly other hundreds. Our participants, visible on the streets, asking questions and speaking with the local community, proved that European youth cares about the future. Thanks to our well composed speakers and the trainers team, the participants had seven unforgettable days. During this week, each participant was inspired to develop further, and the event contributed to the formation of an active and aware European youth that would contribute to a better and more integrated Europe in the future.
This event did not aim to answer the question if ‘Turkey should join the EU’ but rather to see Turkey’s role in the European Integration, relations, opportunities and challenges, and the future of the situation. Bringing the future leaders of Europe together was just the beginning for a more sustainable, coherent and comprehensive relationship between the two sides, which are interdependent and interconnected very much at the same time, with the diversity that enriches Europe. Perçin IMREK PROJECT FOUNDER
5 33 Las Palmas
During the days dedicated to the project, we all tried to look beyond this magnificent scenery, and ask ourselves some questions around the general theme of European identity and history. Our first workshop was an introduction to the project, which fostered people’s interest and involved them in the issues we were targeting. It was also a
In our second endavor in cooperating with the Summer University, the AEGEE’s leading project, we teamed up with the amazing members of AEGEE-Las Palmas to organize a mini-WDEE conference in… paradise. What better place could there be to ask the question “Where Does Europe End?” than there – on tropical islands, just off the shore of Africa, but politically and culturally more European than many mainland areas. 18
together, with more than 50% of people choosing this option. During our stay we were all amazed by the level of development of the islands, with an incredible infrastructure, wellestablished ÿrms, as well as beautiful and dynamic cities. Our participants mostly enjoyed doing the street actions, as they had a possibility of interacting with local people, discussing the European issues with them, and witnessing their level of awareness, or lack of it. This was an experience to remember for a long time for most of them.
preparation for street actions we have carried out right next to a beautiful beach in Las Palmas. The results of the survey were particularly interesting in some points, where they showed interesting patterns in the islanders’ perspective.
First of all, when asked about the “most European country”, while indicating Germany, Spain and France most frequently, almost all the Canarian people excluded Great Britain. Could it be caused by that shared islanders’ perspective on Europe as something distant? Proving that, the majority (68%) of our respondents declared that they identify themselves with Canary Islands more than with either Spain or Europe.
The Canarian people believe that it is culture (32%) which makes a country European, together with economic development, history and membership of the EU. With 12%, geographical position was almost the least frequently indicated factor. This fact probably proves that even though geographically distant, the Canary Islands are European on all other fields, and its inhabitants want to prove that this is enough to be a part of the European community. Not surprisingly, under current circumstances, the economy was quoted as the most important factor driving European countries
During the other three workshops, we discussed the topic of neocolonialism in Europe, historical approach to the formation of what is today considered “Europe” and the history of Canary Islands. All workshops stimulated great interest and ÿerce discussions, especially over issues such as the transformation of Eastern European countries or the meaning of the very word “European”. We also learned a lot about why Canary Islands are considered a part of Europe, having a small introduction on the history of the islands by members of AEGEE-Tenerife.
During this two weeks we relaxed, had a lot of fun, visited some beautiful places and debated on European issues. The WDEE part of the Summer University was a very refreshing and inspiring addition to the wonderful time we’ve spent in one of the most remote corners of the continent. Katarzyna Bitka DOCUMENTATION RESPONSIBLE 19
6 Lund Munich
Russians have been the largest ethnic minority in Latvia for the last two centuries. The number of Russians in Latvia increased significantly during the Soviet occupation of Latvia when the size of the community grew from 10.5% of the total population in 1935 (206,499) to 34.0% in 1989 (905,515). It started to decrease in size again after Latvia re-gained independence in 1991 falling to 26.9% (557,119) in 2011. The Russian language in Latvia is the second most commonly used language at home (37.2% in the 2011) and 27.0% of the population are ethnic Russians.
Thanks to this conference, the participants also had a chance to evaluate their perspectives, and understand better 'Where Does Europe End?' for them. The journey begun with discovering another country and other traditions, but in the end we also discovered ourselves. I miss my journeys, Latvian bread, ancient traditions and WDEE. Catalina GRIGORASI Coordinator - WDEE Ogre This conference of WDEE in this part of Europe was about multilingualism. This was one of the reasons that me and many participants were very interested to work on this topic, since we were all interested in languages and the rich multilingualism in Europe. The team of trainers were composed of different cultures and whom spoke different languages, which added more richness to the conference. The team consisted of Guillermo, who is Spanish, Gabor from Hungary, myself from Romania and the Latvian organisers. The conference involved Latvian language courses, discussions on different topics, such as artificial languages, language diversity and the origins of European languages. There were also AEGEE related discussions, such as if English should be the only language of AEGEE, or also other languages should be
present. There were also interactive days of the conference, where the participants played a game that our trainer Guillermo called â€œDo you want to be a millionaire?â€? Every day was a unique experience, where both the trainers and the other participants learned something different. One day we invited Russian and Latvian people to introduce us into their living together and after this we understood more about this country and its history.
You start understanding what locals actually feel about the issues and the topics discussed. In this case, we could understand 'Where Does Europe End?' for Latvians. The participants had the chance to dig into Latvian culture and see the country from a locals perspective. 21
Leon, situated in the north of Spain, is also known for being the place where the first Parliament in European History was held (hence its motto: “The cradle of Parliamentarism”).
Nowadays capital of the province with the same name, in Castile and León, one of the autonomous communities of Spain. Where else we could host our event titled “Regionalism”?
As many of you know, Spain today has a Constitution which enshrines the rights of its regions or -more accurately- of its nations. Along its history, it has experienced substantial challenges related to its regional autonomy, sometimes in the formof conflicts which threatened its teritorial integrity and even its existence. Similar to the previous events, our youth convention in Leon, lasted for one week -time enough for the participants to indulge into the topic and find out more on regionalism and its implications.
EVENTS The workshops held during the event focused both on regionalism from a pragmatic point of view, placing an emphasis on the administrative dimension, as well as on the ideological point of view, by highlighting the cultural aspects of regionalism. The participants had thus the opportunity to look at regionalism both from an intra-European point of view by analyzing EU’s regional policies, as well as from an interEuropean points of view, by analyzing EU’s role in its Eastern neighbourhood.
Additionally, in the framework of the event, a visit to the regional parliament of Castile and León was organised, given its relevance for the topic of the event. Our participants had the chance to speak with its president about the regional division of Spain and its functioning in order to understand in what ways a de facto regional organization influences the perceptions on regional identity.
During the event we organized various rounds of street actions in Leon, and also in Valladolid, capital of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon and popular due to its low rate of independentist people. According to the Spaniards, most of countries were
considered European, except for the Caucasus which was considered European by less than 20% if the respondents. The rest of the results were predictable: the most European country was considered to be Germany (39%), while the most important criteria that make country European were economic development (31%) and culture (25%). Economy was also considered to be the most important criterion that brings European countries together (55%). The respondents agreed to a future European enlargement (58%) but what was quite surprising is their apparently positive reaction to the posibility of a
federal Europe, with 42% declaring themselves in favour of the latter. The special question focused on regionalism, with 20% of the Spaniards declaring that they identify themselves firstly with their region and afterwards with their country. However, to the next question, of whether their region should become independent, 80% answered negatively. Juan Sordo Barreiro FORMER PROJECT MANAGER
Lund/SWEDEN >> The event organized in Lund began as a challenge. While not very big, this antenna was mainly composed of foreigners from Western and Eastern Europe, all with different bachgrounds and views on what organising an international event means. Nevertheless, as we would find out later, diversity was a gift and
EVENTS At the same time, 89% of the Swedes said “no” to the possibility of the EU to become a federal state while pointing to peace and stability (37%) as being the most important factor that brings European countries together. Seen from a broader perspective, WDEE Lund was probably the most spectacular event so far: we had the chance to travel to two different countries during the same event -Sweden and Denmark, office in Copenhagen-, had the opportunity of seeing two antennas at work -AEGEE Lund and AEGEE Copenhagen- and the attention of the local media who asked to take part in our workshops. Lavinia MANEA EXTERNAL RELATIONS RESPONSIBLE
from the moment we received the green light for the preparations, things happened fast: the online meetings with AEGEE Lund, the selection of the trainers’ team and finally that of the participants. The topic for this event was Human Rights, and Sweden, as a recognized promoter in this field, was deemed the right location. In this framework, the event gave thirty European students the chance to discover the history of Human Rights, the challenges of the 21st century, the violation of Human Rights in Europe the progress and the lacks in the field. It enabled them to travel to the UNDP office in Copenhagen, Denmark and discuss human rights-related issues, and helped them discover what Swedish people think about Europe and human rights.
The results of the survey revealed that the Swedes consider Germany and France as being the most European countries, each of them gathering 25% of the answers. As for what makes a country European, the majority pointed to geographical position (35%) and culture (29%). The Swedes seem to agree with a future EU enlargement (46%) to the detriment of those who gave negative answers (29%) or to the undecided ones (25%). To the question related to human rights, the Swededes pointed firstly to discrimination against racial minorities (36%) and immigrants (35%). The majority of the respondents (84%) also claimed that the EU should take action in case of violation of human rights in the rest of the world. 25
77 Munich Munich 1
WDEE (Where Does Europe End) had its last training event in Munich: “The Bavarian Interculturalist” (14-19. May 2012). In the course of five days, international and local students attended interesting lectures, exciting workshops with arts and crafts, games around the city, art projects, excursions, Munich's night life and, of course, the best beer in the world in the most famous beer houses. 26
In the second part of the workshop, we focused on Intercultural communication as a preparation for the WDEE survey. Therefore, participants created a “How to deal with Germans”-list: “Respect personal distance” or “Point out that it won’t take long” were some useful hints!
A trip to the past of Europe. Can myths be reloaded and become a narrative for the modern Europe? For the photo-workshop, the participants researched different antique myths and decided for the myth “Europa”.
New day - more challenges, more participants, more fun. In spite of being tired after exploring the night life in Munich the previous day, everybody had energy. We also had some surprises for the participants. Surprises started with first task: forming sculptures, which looked like ancient art, participants were asked to do their own “Europe” - goddess of the 21. Century! And to make a conclusion of the discussion participants were given the surprise task: create a flashmob in Munich city! For this European surprise-flashmob they choose “Surprise in Europe” theme. Together with other AEGEEans from Munich, who were invited via Facebook, we shocked the crowd on the main streets: with pointing somewhere in the sky and freezing, then gathering in the middle of the square (symbolizing the center of Europe). The reaction of passers-by showed us that
In the last day of workshops, everyone shared their experience with religion. Split in teams of two, the task was to ÿnd common and diverse aspects of one’s individual religious feeling. We had found religious diversity already in ourselves. Munich is a good example of this diversity, since 1/3 of the inhabitants comes from other countries, which makes Munich is a melting pot of cultures. Afterwards, we visited one of the biggest mosques in Munich and were invited to stay for tea and the prayer. We also had an introduction in Islam and the muslim community by a responsible.
Our trainer in intercultural understanding, Isabel Reible from IKB guided us in a lively and entertaining way through the first workshop of the event: “Intercultural Understanding”.
A City tour: “Munich & Europe” brought us from the past to the present, walking old town, having a glimpse into the “Frauenkirche” up to Sendlinger Tor.
We enjoyed the view from the bell tower of St. Peter, one of the most famous churches in the heart of Munich. After the dinner, the night ended with unexpected but very interesting discussion on the topic “Communism vs. Capitalism”.
we have done a good job in drawing attention.
The participants read about the story of Europa and Zeus. In the main building of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, the participants reinterpreted this myth and made an interesting serial of pictures.
After Friday’s European Night we were all a bit tired, as any AEGEEan can imagine. Nevertheless the weather was awesome. So it was the right time to relax and enjoy nature. We went to the riverbanks of Thalkirchen to have BBQ: sausages, steaks and salad. people was so tired that even had a siesta!! Later some participants had to leave, others joined the crew from Munich and Vienna to watch the European Championsleague Final. And even though Bayern München lost the game, we were even sadder that it was time to say goodbye to “Where Does Europe End?”. Anja Fink COORDINATOR - WDEE-MUNICH 27
Utrecht 88 Utrect 7
mobility, environment, freedom of identity, etcetera. These values may be threatened by current developments in Europe, such as the economic crisis or the rising nationalism. The former may in°uence the
Ogrebudget of countries and
The WDEE-Utrecht event started out with identifying four themes which occupy the minds of the European youth. These themes are rising nationalism, expansion of the EU, illegal immigration and the economic crisis. These are all hot issues which affect European decision-making and/or are a part of European policies. Furthermore, these themes are all interrelated and in°uence how the youth perceive the ever-changing European Identity. In general, European Identity is, for the participants of this conference, associated with European values, such as democracy, law, peace and stability, human rights,
organizations on defense, human rights, the environment, while the latter theme may increase anti-Europeanism among citizens. At the same time, any further expansion of the European Union seem to con°ict with deepening of the political block. The issue of illegal immigration con°icts with the concept of free mobility, which is deemed very important by our participants.
The participants indicated that the solutions should be sought in a combination of top-down and bottomup solutions. Further integration of the European Union is desired by most participants. However, they emphasize that all countries should be held to the same standards. This does not only hold for further integration, but also with respect to enlargement of the European Union. The cooperation within the EU should thus be fair and there should be solidarity amongst countries, but there is acknowledgement that there are limits to solidarity. Further integration should however be complemented by
>> better representation of the people within the European Union. This is an important pre-condition to achieve a high degree of involvement of European citizens in the democratic process of the EU. Best kind of representation is made by the European citizens, who feels belonging to both the European Union and for their home-country, without suspecting that the existence of the EU threatens the existence of his same state. The EU can facilitate this feeling by making clear that the EU will never replace nationstates, but form a transnational political block which will exist next to the nation-state they live in.
This will however only be possible if citizens are clearly aware of what is going on in their continent. Information about the history of Europe, the creation of the EU, the goals of the EU and objective news coverage of developments across the continent, will increase the knowledge on the positive and negative aspects of the union and should generate better informed European citizens. This could for example be achieved by education of youth in the school-age. Better still would be that citizens acquire this knowledge of their own will, for example via (social-)media they prefer to consult or by making use of the possibilities to be mobile across the continent and experience the different cultures this rich continent has. The role of the European Union in this can be to facilitate and promote opportunities for citizens to get informed and to be mobile. A Bottom-Up approach is needed to be able for European citizens to get a feeling to belong to the European community. This will be necessary to form a common European Identity. Action is thus not only required only by European bodies to promote Europe. The people on this continent should show their willingness to be part of this community. Each citizen should act as an example to the other. In the constantly changing Europe, one can conclude that the EU can aid in in째uencing the awareness and the responsibilities of the average citizen. Increasing the mobility of citizens and the information available to citizens will help them to gain a better understanding of their own identity. In the end however, it is the responsibility of every citizen to be informed on European issues and thereby giving room to an informed debate on the future of Europe. Casper WOLF FORMER TEAM MEMBER 29
The street actions
During each conference, two or three times in the week the participants interacted with the local population, asking the people to fill in the questionnaires. The forms were always translated into the local language and with the help of local organizers, the participants usually had the chance to talk to the people directly. Our young participants mostly enjoyed doing the street actions, during which they could try and make a direct impact on the local community and stimulate interest in European issues.
RESULTS One of the most important efforts made by the Where Does Europe End? project team, participants of our conferences and our supporters, was the survey carried out throughout the project. We have conducted the study during the conferences, through personal interaction with local people and online, trying to get as many responses as possible.
How it started?
of the participants’ feedback and the collected answers, a multiplechoice questionnaire was constructed, for the sake of simplicity and professionalism.
The questionnaire, in its most basic form, consisted of six questions: first, we asked our respondents to circle what they considered Europe; then, they had to indicate the “most European” country. In the next question we asked what was the criterion for classifying a country as “European”. We also enquired people on their attitude for development of the EU – whether it should accept new members and whether it should become a
federal state one day. Finally, we wanted to know what was the most important factor that worked as a magnet, pulling together the European states. During our events, a different questionnaire was used each time we approached the distinct themes. The six questions listed above were always present, but one or two questions were also always added to correspond to a given theme.
The online survey
The idea of making the survey arose in the very beginning of our work on the project. At this time, in the year 2008, no one had known we would be conducting this project throughout one of the most serious crisis the EU has suffered since its foundation. The questions we have invented were at the same time general and troublesome, and helped us observe the ways in which attitudes and opinions were changing over time. The ÿrst questionnaire carried out during our kick-off conference in Koszeg, Hungary, was an open-ended form, in which more elaborate answers to the questions were collected. On the basis
The survey was designed to fulÿll two out of three of the project’s aims, namely “Examine the ways in which young people perceive Europe - its limits, identity, founding values and uniqueness” as well as “Trigger interest and stimulate debate amongst young people (…)”. The survey was never meant to provide data of scientiÿc value, as achieving such results was beyond our capacities. We have managed to accumulate interesting insights and provoked people to challenge their ideas and re°ect upon the future of the EU.
During the ÿnal year of the project, an online version of the survey was launched, and the survey was promoted over many youth networks. The online version of the survey gave us almost 2000 responses. 31
Overview of the results As a whole, we have gathered more than 3000 responses for our survey. The answers were gathered over three years, and in a number of locations, so the general result which is to be presented here is given rather as a point of reference and a starting insight than an ultimate answer to the questions of the project. Due to time and resources constraints, our respondents base has not been equally distributed across the European countries, fact also influenced by the different sizes of the population. We have gathered most responses from Spanish people through two events carried out there and through personal involvement in this area. For all other conference venues, we have the most responses, further multiplied through the online survey. We have focused primarily on the young respondents, and the majority of answers were gathered from people aged below thirty.
Number of responses per Country
SPAIN %31 TURKEY %15 SWEDEN%11 LATVIA %5 GERMANY %4 ITALY %4 POLAND %4 FRANCE %3 GREECE %3 NETHERLANDS %2 PORTUGAL %2 BELGIUM %1 CZECH REPUBLIC %1 BULGARIA %1 32
This research does not aspire to meet academic standards, due to financial and timely constraints, as well as the idea of the project â€“ which was more to treat the survey as a starting point for reflection over European identity, values and future, as well as an opportunity to meet local people during our conferences and interact with them. Some interesting conclusions were still drawn and we invite you to explore them in this section.
Legend >> 80 to 100% “European” 60 to 80% “European” 40 to 60% “European” 20 to 40% “European”
Where ES Europe
Map >> The first question we have asked the respondents to answer was “Draw a circle around what you consider Europe.”. During the street actions we have encountered a number of different approaches – from circling only the respondent’s home country to circling the whole image printed on the questionnaire. The most troublesome was of course the border in the south-east corner of Europe
>> A very interesting and troubling case was Turkey. Not only in view of its belonging either to Europe or Asia, but also, because of answers we have gathered from Turkish respondents. The Turks were very uncertain about what Europe is, and mostly only encircled the continental part, excluding the UK. However, within the very same survey, when asked to indicate the most European country they pointed at.. United Kingdom! This shows that the knowledge and acceptance of a foreign culture may not always be linked with geographical knowledge. 33
Please tell us which is the most European country for you?
This question was designed to help us understand where it is that people 每nd the heart of Europe, what are the core countries of Europe and how the values with which they are associated de每ne what Europe really is. This question may seem overly simplistic or naive, but in fact the responses we have received are quite meaningful In general, we have observed a pattern which was evolving throughout the research. Most of the times, the country indicated as the most European was Germany, followed by France and the UK. The next country would normally be the country of residence of the articular respondent. Then we would see countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands or Italy.
Two important trends, which we can possibly find to be based in the development of the situation is the growth in importance of Germany as the most European state and diminution of the United Kingdom (in the online survey it fell off the podium). This is clearly re掳ected in political involvement of the two countries in the European issues. What does it tell us? Clearly, the tri-polar power establishment: Germany-FranceUK has given way to another relationship of importance for Europe: the bi-polar cooperation between France and Germany. Even though the European countries are most strongly related culturally, and the British culture did not change drastically over the last three years, 34
Table: Most European country
we as EU citizenscannot disregard the political side of the equation, which is probably the cause of such answer to this question.
Which is the most important criterion that makes a country European? Criterion
Membership of the EU
Table: Important criteria that make a country European
This question was aimed at making a reference to the previous question, so as to discover what it was that acted as a basis for distinction between European and nonEuropean countries. We have proposed several alternatives for this question, which were: history, geographical position, culture, religion (Christianity), membership of the EU, economic development. The respondents were only allowed to pick one answer. Invariably, culture was indicated as the most important criterion that defines what is Europe. Therefore, the mixture
YES 23% of French, German and British cultures are the essence of European identity. Of course, for each country this mix is seasoned with its own cultural background, accordingly. Interestingly, religion was very much disregarded by our respondents, even though in many ways it constitutes the basis for European culture. This is quite paradoxical, but points at ongoing laicization of life. Next answers to come were history, geographical position and economic development. Economic development started off as the second most frequently quoted criterion (with 20% during our conference in Izmir and 28% in Leon). This result diminished greatly as the crisis deepened, down to 17% in Las Palmas and only 7% in the online survey. This is a very interesting trend, which might indicate that the crisis revealed deep economic fracturing of the continent, and therefore encourages people to recognize other elements constituting European identity. Factor
Peace & Stability
Growing global competition
Table: Important factors that bring European countries together
What is the most important factor that brings European countries together?
This question, in contrast to the third question, is not about the core values that deÿne whether a country is European or not. Here we wanted to find out what were the new factors that fostered European integration. The respondents could choose
YES 59% NO 32%
Should EU enlarge further?
Do you think EU should one day become a federal state?
from among the following options: Economy, Peace& Stability, cultural closeness, growing global competition, geography, history. Here two most important factors were always winning – Economy and Peace & Stability. Usually, Economy was the most important factor indicated in this question. Moreover, another option – Growing global competition – is also linked with economics, and therefore a clear dominance of these factors over others can be observed. The ensuing choice – peace&stability – was dominant in the survey carried out in more developed, coreEU countries, with scores in the online survey as high as 42% in the Netherlands, 39% in Germany or 52% in Belgium. This could be interpreted as an indication of different countries’ motivation for being members of the EU. “Old EU” members may still perceive the EU as a remedy for wars that have been demolishing Europe for centuries; the new members, or poorer countries, may see the economic convergence as the most important elements of EU policies in their states.
Should EU enlarge further?
In this question, the answers were quite divergent, but on the whole slightly in favour of enlargement of the EU. One could risk a thesis, that the countries which are far from enlargement area and those which would be less affected by the enlargement, through economic migration etc, are more enthusiastic about enlargement. Also, countries which have most recently entered are more enthusiastic, as well as, not surprisingly, the candidate countries.
Do you think EU should become a federal state?
The idea of the EU becoming a single/federal state was, since the very beginning, greeted with reserve by our respondents. The highest score for such development was 33%, gathered during our conference in Ogre. Our respondents were quite consistent in their opposition towards the idea. Even with the crisis gaining speed, the ideas for “more Europe” remain controversial. 35
Results in a close-up Chronological development – a case of Spain
With only 50% of Belgians supporting the idea of EU enlargements, only 52% of Czechs and only 54% of Greeks, we can clearly see that countries, inhabitants of which are affected by the current developments, are most likely to be reluctant to expand the EU.
10% Chronological Development
An interesting case in our research is Spain, as this is the country with the biggest number of responses gathered. We have conducted our research there 3 times – during our conferences in Leon (2010), Las Palmas (2011) and through the online survey (2011-2012). Overall, we have gathered almost 1000 responses from the Spanish people. Therefore, we some conclusions may be drawn, on the basis of Spain, deeply involved in the Euro crisis, on the evolution of attitudes in Europe. Quite interestingly, over the three stages of our survey conducted in Spain, in question two – which is the most important criterion that makes a country European – a signiÿcant shift could observed, away from Economy and closer to Culture. This could be interpreted as a sign that when economic unity 36
On the other hand, countries which are under greatest strain or most strongly burdened with the current situation in the EU are least enthusiastic and optimistic about the perspectives of EU expansion.
of EU is tested by the crisis, the EU citizens still want to believe in other bonds unifying the EU, and go back to seeing culture and similarities between countries as the basis for European Integration.
>> Attitudes to EU enlargement Within the online survey, we have had an opportunity of drawing a comparison between the ways respondents from different countries perceive the perspectives for European Integration. The result we have discovered cannot be taken as fully reliable, because of the number of respondents which was not big enough. However, the pattern we have discovered is quite interesting – it shows that Countries which have recently joined, would like to join, or beneÿt most of the EU are the most enthusiastic about EU enlargement, with 84% of Bulgarians, 77% of Turks and 77% of Ukrainians speaking for.
Northern versus Southern states
Interesting conclusions may be drawn on the basis of a comparative analysis that has been carried out between Northern and Southern EU states. This division within the Union is now strongly visible and strengthened by the crisis. In the third question, a very significant Belgium Czech Republic Russian Federation Greece Hungary France Romania Italy Portugal Slovenia Germany Spain Netherlands Slovakia United Kingdom Poland Ukraine Turkey Bulgaria 0%
divergence can be observed: for the Southern states, the most important criterion that makes a country European is Culture (40%) followed by History (21%) and Geographic position (19%). On the other hand, for Northerners, the most important criterion if Geographical position (34%), followed by Culture (31%) and History 17%). This shows that the Northerners tend to base their attitudes on the most objective and scientific criterion – geography. Responednts from the Southern countries perceive this issue differently, and see Culture as the most strong determinant of “Europeanness”. Another very strong and interesting divergence can be seen in the attitudes towards federalization of the EU. Whereas southern respondents were mildly against such strategy, with 66% voting against, the Northern Number of Responses per Country
Culture Economic Development History
Geographical position Membership of the EU Other Graph: Differences between northern and southern states which criteria makes a country European
Economy Peace & Stability Growing global competition Culrural Closeness Geography History No Opinion Other 5%
Graph: Differences between northern and southern European states which factor brings European countries together 10%
respondents rejected such a prospect with an astonishing 94% proportion. This also reveals the primarily rational attitude towards European issues. Finally, in the last question, again one can observe some strong dissimilarities between two groups of respondents. Here, the Southern respondents put two elements – Economy and Peace & Stability together as most important, giving 28% each. In the North, Peace & Stability won clearly, with 37% percent, ahead of Economy, runner-up with 19%. This may reveal that as ÿnancial situation in the North is less strained than in the South, this element is not treated as an issue.
Graph: Differences between northern & southern states whether the EU should federalise 100%
90% 80% 70% 60%
50% 40% 30%
RESULTS Jarosław GOWIN
Alexander BURGIN, Professor of Political Science “Turkey is more European than Ukraine or Belarus. There exists a long-standing relationship between EU and Turkey, and it is already rooted in the European structure. Belarus and Ukraine are still under Russian in°uence. In 50 years maybe Europe can accept other countries. There is a risk that crisis will cause the ‘Enlargement fatigue”.
Stine KRISTIEN JUNGE, UNDP
Arnau FLORES I CANALS, Journalist
Where Does Europe End for you? Where would you draw this outer border?
“The most European country is Germany, because of its Influence on European politics, both within the EU and in the whole of Europe. It is important because of its specific strength, significance (size, population, etc). European values can also apply very close to Germany”.
Jarosław GOWIN, former Polish Minister of Justice
“Where does Europe end? This is a troublesome question, because the notion of borders of Europe, as all cultural notions, is very vague. I would draw the border on the border of Russia, and further to the south on the border with Iran, Iraq and Syria; I would also include Israel in Europe. Israel constitutes for me a European input in Arab world, and I would count it into Europe, bearing in mind that the spiritual and cultural borders often differ from geographical ones. If we could accept liberal democracy as the criterion of Europeanness, I would point at United Kingdom – the cradle of this system – as the most European country. The values that define Europe are primarily respect for human rights, pluralism, tolerance and innovativeness. The EU at the moment cannot afford accepting Turkey into the EU, the same way as we can not afford accepting Ukraine and Belarus. I believe that within the foreseeable future, meaning around 25 years, the EU will not become a federal state. The discrepancies between member states’ interests are so big, that the EU will remain the Union of nation states”. 38
Thomas von der DUNK, Historian
“I would include North African in Europe. It belongs to the circle of Mediterranean culture”.
To begin with, I think there are more Europes, that’s the problem. The troublesome borders are in the East and in the South; in the West border is on the ocean, in the North you can take the icebergs of the Spitsbergen or Greenland. I think a very important border is the one between the Eastern and the Western Europe. In this region there are different elements that make it difÿcult to define Europe – in the Balkans, it is the design of the nation states, where family and church play an unusually important role; in Ukraine we have the westernized parts and parts looking to Russia. But I would say, there is a clear border around Sarajevo, on along the Carpathians, that goes also into Romania. And I think the second border of Europe is at the Bosporus, and about Turkey, it's more of a problem, and it’s quite unclear. So it's the social structure, the design of the society and history that define Europe? Yes, definitely, it defines it and it made it possible, but in fact there are two Europes, I would say. EU is above more states. It has to do with defense and economic cooperation in the common market as well. Europe is also about law, the whole system, as it functions in Brussels is about law, which is important for the EU to function! The union can be too big, too different to function! Then, there is not enough of this natural solidarity - that's what's happening nowadays.
RESULTS Do you think the EU should enlarge further? When one is talking about new memberships, they always tend to think about 10-20 years. That, as I say is totally erroneous, unrealistic, if you want the union to function! What's happening in a hundred years, I don't know. But in 10 years we'll see about Turkey, and I think from 36 dossiers only one is ready. It says a lot. The European Union can only take the countries of the Balkans and in the future, Turkey; and, it can only take them at all, if you make a union of two levels. But that's taboo! And the countries which are the least able to enter this closer union want it the most, because they see it as acceptance of themselves. Which is the most European country for you? I don't think there exists one most European country, because every country is different, and every country takes itself as the starting point to look at the others. But, a lot of the European values are somewhere concentrated in north-west Europe. It is difÿcult to say, because this would imply that there is one standard European country, which there isn't. In our research most common result was Germany, France, Great Britain, and the country in which the survey was held. What do you think about this pattern? Europe is dominated since long times, politically and culturally by Germany, France and England. They dominate, and take Italy a little too. And so, the mix of this is
the nucleus of Europe, together with Switzerland, because it’s a country which contains three cultures inside of it! Belgium also has Germanic as well as Romanic culture in it. Belgium is perhaps very European. So the nucleus of Europe is in the north-west of the continent, because it is still economically dominant. What is more, the EU was invented here, so the values of the European Union as well as the democracies in the north-western part are the oldest and the most stable. It's all of in°uence, but at the same time you can also say that chaos is a part of Europe, with the European history of wars. So it's in fact a question you can't answer. What is the most important criterion that makes a country European? Values! Nowadays we say that democracy is a European value. If you had asked two centuries ago, everyone would have said Christianity is Europe. And now we would say Europe is ‘democracy’. European values are primarily ‘rule of law’ and ‘democracy’, which, of course are very near to each other, and now we would also say living peacefully together as different countries; if you look at Europe’s past, of course it's nonsense, as the European countries since the beginnings have fought a lot of wars, nobody knows how many, so you see - it changes! Do you think the EU should become a federal state? No, it has to be something on its own. A lot of the problems in Europe, and a lot of the antiEuropean feelings around Europe
have to do with the fact that there are some things, the cultural things, where Europe has too much influence. If you ask the people where they think there should be more Europe they would say: defense, foreign policy, and so on. But if you look at other things, there is too much Europe, especially in all the things which have to do with national and regional identity, languages, or what we eat. A lot of rules of Europe which have come along with the economy, the uniform market, are a disaster. The uniform market is a disaster for the cultural pluriformity. Europe is too much about everything that has to do with culture and identity. Europe, by trying to uniformize that, gets the new nationalism. Every try-out to make a culturally uniform Europe, if it's by the French dictatorship of Napoleon, the German dictatorship of Hitler, or the English dictatorship of the markets, will every time make a revolution, resistance against it. Is there in people the feeling of European identity? You feel it, you feel commonness, but there is no "we" without a "they". I don't daily feel myself Dutch. You feel yourself Dutch if you have to deal with Belgians, or Germans. You feel north-European together with the Germans when you have to do with southern Europeans. And you feel very European if you have to do with people from China or from Africa! Then you recognize there is a lot in common, and you tell the rest of the world that you feel European. As soon as people are called from Mars or Jupiter, or another foreign star, we all would feel human beings. That's problems - for a "we" we need a "they". 39
The main aim of the Where Does Europe End? project was to understand the different perspectives of young people in Europe on the physical and mental borders of Europe, as well as to see what ‘Europe’ constitues for them. This project never aimed to specify ‘Where Europe Ends’, but rather to see the common and differing positions regarding this issue. This booklet tried to gather and share the knowledge and experience gained throughout the project. As was seen, one of the most significant means we employed to reach our project goals were our questionnaries, which enabled the participants to interview people of different backgrounds and ages, and confront and compare these results on a later stage. Another way was the online survey our project team conducted, where we have sent our survey to various mailing lists of universities, think tanks and relevant organisations.
Our events, where we had involved around 40 participants each, have focused on to work on one thematical topic in each conference. These topics were relevant topics on our research, ranging from Human Rights to Regional Identity, from European Integration to Multilingualism. These conferences have also hosted important speakers from the academic and business world, who have shared their knowedledge with our participants. The participants also worked amongst each other during the events, where workshops were organized and given by WDEE team members or other experienced youth workers. These conferences ended with our closing event in Utrecht, where we had a final debate, trying to cover all the discussions made throughout the conference, where the participants have summarized all their thought and results, sharing it with the other participants in the final session.
The presence of externals from youth councils brought an added value to the discussions and the content of this final debate. Support from important patrons, such as the former president of the European Parliament.
and bring them out.
Jerzy Buzek himself and the cabinet of the president of the European Commission, Mr. Barroso have brought an indispensable contribution to our project, while their support assured the quality of our work, and giving us an extra morale for the development of our project. This booklet represented all the work done and effort put on this project since the last year, with thousands of people being involved and countless days were spend, to answer the question ‘Where Does Europe End?’.
I would like to thank everyone that was/is involved in this project. This would not have been possible without you.
We hope you enjoyed reading this booklet and know a bit more about ‘Where Does Europe End?’ in people’s minds.
It is clear that there is no single answer to this question, and this is what made this project very unique; to see all the diverging opinions and ideas,
Standing Where Europe Ends
EKATERINBURG Note: This article is separate from the main booklet amd you are kindly asked to see this as a more personal reflection on the borders of Europe. While making a promotion video for the project, asking people 'Where Does Europe End?', a Russian friend said that Europe Ends in Ekaterinburg. Back then I did not even know where it was. In the summer of 2013, I have had the chance to be in Ekaterinburg, a city in Russia, adjacent to Ural mountains and a city which has the 'border' between European and Asia that is accepted by many. The Western borders of Europe is quite easy to determine, thanks to the ocean. However, the eastern borders are pretty vague, and the term 'Europe' has a different meaning to many. And this difference in perception was the main factor that inspired me and my team members to create this project.
Epilogue That is why I wanted to have this special article in the last page, with a very symbolic photo that shows 'Where Europe Ends'. During this project, I realized that the borders of Europe vary from person to person, because the perception of what Europe is varies so much as well. For some, Europe represents the EU, which makes only the EU countries European. For others, Europe represents Christianity, making only Christian countries eligible to be in 'Europe'. The variations differ, ranging from economy, security, political status, geography and so on... Therefore, while Turkey is a European country for some, for others it is not. Some
After dedicating 3 years to this project, it was very meaningful to be in Ekaterinburg, and stay in the exact line that seperates Europe and Asia.
people think that Russia is not European at all, but some others do. Everybody agrees that the UK is in Europe, but many people argue how European it is. People know that Portugal and Sweden are completely different, but they are both European. So what is Europe? What makes a country European? During our conference, we understood that there is no right or wrong to this question. We understood that there are different ideas, different perceptions and different answers. Because Europe consists of different people, different cultures and different nationalities.
Thats what makes Europe so beautiful and interesting. That is why I stand here, on the 'maybe' border between Europe and Asia, enjoying the vagueness of Europe. The friend who thought me where Ekaterinburg was Anya Petrova. I dedicate this article to her. Rest in Peace. Perรงin IMREK
Published on Jan 14, 2014
The Where Does Europe End? project is concerned with European identity and the future of European integration. Founded and carried out by m...