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Europe On The Next Level: Do We Need Deeper Cultural And Political Integration?

11 scheduled sessions
29 ended sessions
180 participants

This House Parliament runs until 06 Dec 2022

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Background

Since Russia's war on Ukraine, Europe has been experiencing a turning point - both within and outside the EU. In this context, not only politics, but also factors in the field of culture, education, identity significantly determine the direction in which Europe will develop in the future. What kind of events we honor together in Europe during the national holidays, what narratives and historic facts are taught to young people in school and whether one is part of the EU as a political community or not has an influence on the shape of Europe in the future. In this round of European HomeParliaments, we therefore take a look at three questions that can bring Europe closer together, both culturally and politically.

Subquestions

1. Should there be a joint European Public Holiday to commemorate Europe’s shared history and values?

Background: Public holidays play an important role in the culture of commemoration and shape our national identity as well as cultural self-image. They remind us of key moments in history (e.g., holidays marking the end of the war), honor the role of social groups (e.g., International Labour Day) or have religious connotations (e.g., Easter). Holidays are an opportunity to be with family and friends, but also to feel a sense of community and foster social cohesion. Until today, there is no holiday yet that honors the European peace project or common European history. Should there be a joint European Public Holiday to commemorate Europe’s shared history and values? Let’s discuss.

Pro

Public holidays give regularity and commitment to cultures of commemoration

It can build European identities and induce feelings of belonging and togetherness

It would give people an additional occasion to visit friends and family, also across borders

Contra

A European-wide holiday blurs regional differences and weakens national identities in the long run

There is no occasion or historical event that truly unites the many states of Europe

A European Public Holiday would only have a representative character and wouldn't lead to a feeling of belonging from the bottom-up.

Additions from the meetings

European and national identity does not exclude each other so celebrating national and European holidays would strengthen the feeling of belonging to both levels.

Instead of a Public Holiday, it should be a dedicated day because otherwise people would just treat it as a free day

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2. Should history education in Europe’s schools provide more common European content and go beyond national narratives?

Background: The teaching of history in school plays a central role in how we perceive the world. It shapes our way of understanding the past, present, and future. Currently, the content and narratives that are taught in history classes in Europe differ greatly from one country to another. In some cases, history even seems to be used as an instrument to divide us instead of bringing us together. We want to discuss whether a more commonly agreed curriculum in history classes which focuses more on the European perspective could strengthen European unity and cohesion. Should the teaching of history in Europe’s schools provide more common European content and go beyond national narratives? Let us talk about it.

Pro

National history is always also European history. Both must be taught together.

Agreeing on a certain pan-European consensus when it comes to teaching history can create a sense of cohesion and international understanding.

A deeper understanding of the multi-faceted character of historical interpretations could make young people less susceptible to obscure interpretations of the past that are used as a weapon, e.g., in political debates.

Contra

Pupils might be confused and unable to develop a national identity if history is addressed from a more European or global perspective.

Shared narratives must emerge organically and should not be artificially constructed and mediated.

School policy lies in the responsibility of the nation states of Europe and should neither be influenced nor controlled from above the national level.

Additions from the meetings

Integrating common European curriculum should be part of the accession process.

Instead of a common European historical curriculum, more focus should be put on teaching about the functioning of EU institutions and European integration's effect on our daily lives.

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3. Should EU enlargement be accelerated for countries with candidate status?

Background: Politically, Europe is a continent divided into at least two parts: There is a Europe outside and inside the EU. Whether one belongs to this union of European states plays a central role for the economic, social and political development of a country, but also how it is perceived by others. Europe’s expansion has been a topic of discussion for years. States of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova are candidates right now and on their way towards the EU. However, since the war in Ukraine, the discussion on EU expansion has reached a new level. Besides economic and social benefits, EU membership plays an important role in national security as well. EU membership not only offers economic or social benefits, it also plays an important role in terms of national security. We therefore want to discuss: Should EU enlargement be accelerated for countries with candidate status? Consider in your discussion proposals such as the need to either soften membership requirements or to establish a membership light version to get new countries in the Union quickly without giving full membership rights yet.

Pro

Speeding up the EU membership process helps to protect Europe's democracies against the influence of strong autocratic states

Membership opens up new economic and cultural opportunities for new and old member states alike

A positive decision would recognize efforts taken and progress made by candidate countries in the past years (e.g., in the so-called “Berlin Process”)

Contra

Membership criteria and requirements should be respected and not softened for political reasons

Rushing enlargement can lead to destabilization of the entire EU and its working mechanisms. Bigger doesn’t mean better.

The more diverse EU member countries are, the more difficult EU politics will become

Additions from the meetings

Enlargement policy should offer a credible alternative to authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia.

The EU faces serious internal problems (e.g. rule of law) that need to be resolved before welcoming new countries.

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Impressions from the house parliaments

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