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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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”)
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