From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Much of what has come to define ‘Europeanness’ has been born out of conflict and struggle. The very idea of Europe itself has been forged in the fires of opposition and tussle with an Other. Whether it be the Battle of Tours or the Crusades of the Middle-Ages, or the Reconquista or the Siege of Vienna, European identity has been marked by violence and massacre."--Jethro Shirley-Smith
"Defining a European identity is a very complex processes. From outside, "Europeanness" would be a thing for a Chinese or an American, but on the internal plan geography is not sufficient to define Europe in the eyes of Europeans. According to Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, "there has been, since men think, an immense variety of Europes". Paul Valéry cites three major heritages to define the European identity : the Greek democracy, the Roman Law, and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Yet Emmanuel Berl criticizes this thesis as reductive, since it supposes a level of "europeanness", decreasing for West to East. According to him, Europe is shape-shifting, and no culture historically prevails over another, and European Islam, which concerns around 8% of the population, is one of the many sides of European identity." --Sholem Stein
Pan-European identity is the sense of personal identification with Europe, in a cultural, racial or political sense. The concept is discussed in the context of European integration, historically in connection with hypothetical proposals, but since the formation of the European Union (EU) in the 1990s increasingly with regards to the project of ever-increasing federalisation of the EU.
The model of a "pan-European" union is the Carolingian Empire, which united "Europe" in the sense of Latin Christendom. The original proposal for a Paneuropean Union was made in 1922 by Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi. The term "Pan-European" is to be understood not as referring to the modern geographic definition of the continent of Europe but in the historical sense of the western parts of continental Europe sharing the common history of Latin Christendom, the Carolingian Empire and the early modern Habsburg Empire. Coudenhove-Kalergi saw the Pan-European state as a future "fifth great power", in explicit opposition to the Soviet Union, "Asia", Great Britain and the United States (as such explicitly excluding both the British Isles and Eastern Europe from his notion of "Pan-European").
The related concept Europeanism is the assertion that the people of Europe have a distinctive set of political, economic and social norms and values that are slowly diminishing and replacing existing national or state-based norms and values.
After 1945, an accelerating process of European integration culminated in the formation of the European Union (EU) in 1993. In the period of 1995–2013, the EU has been enlarged from 12 to 28 member states, far beyond the area originally envisaged for the "pan-European" state by Coudenhove-Kalergi (with the exception of Switzerland), its member states accounting for a population of some 510 million, or two thirds of the population of the entire continent.
In the 1990s to 2000s, there was an active movement towards a federalisation of the European Union, with the introduction of symbols and institutions usually reserved for sovereign states, such as citizenship, a common currency (used by 19 out of 28 members), a flag, an anthem and a motto (In Varietate Concordia, "United in Diversity"). An attempt to introduce a European Constitution was made in 2004, but it failed to be ratified; instead, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007 in order to salvage some of the reforms that had been envisaged in the constitution.
A debate on the feasibility and desirability of a "pan-European identity" or "European identity" has taken place in parallel to this process of political integration. The ideology of pan-European nationalism, which had been a hallmark of neo-fascist or far-right currents of European politics during the 1950s to 1970s, has been largely abandoned in favour of a resurgence of national identity paired with "Euroscepticism", while the proponents of European integration do not connect the "European idea" with nationalism, but rather with a "postmodern world order" characterised by "diversity of identity" combined with a "commonality of values". while the remaining loyalties to national or cultural identities are seen as a threat to the "supranational prospect" of European integration. Especially in France, "the European idea" (l'idée d'Europe) is associated with political values derived from the Age of Enlightenment and the Republicanism growing out of the French Revolution and the Revolutions of 1848 rather than with personal or individual identity formed by culture or ethnicity (let alone a "pan-European" construct including those areas of the continent never affected by 18th-century rationlaism or Republicanism).
A possible future "European identity" is seen at best as one aspect of a "multifaceted identity" still involving national or regional loyalties. Two authors writing in 1998 concluded that "In the short-term it seems that the influence of this project [of European integration] will only influence European identity in certain limited niches and in a very modest way. It is doubtful if this will do to ensure a smooth process of ongoing European integration and successfully address the challenges of the multicultural European societies." Even at that time, the development of a common European identity was viewed as rather a by-product than the main goal of the European integration process, even though it was actively promoted by both EU bodies and non-governmental initiatives, such as the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission.
With the rise of EU-scepticism and opposition to continued European integration by the early 2010s, the feasibility and desirability of such a "European identity" has been called into question.
History of Pan-Europeanism
A sense of European identity traditionally derives from the idea of a common European historical narrative. In turn, that is assumed to be the source of the most fundamental European values. Typically the 'common history' includes a combination of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, the feudalism of the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, 19th century liberalism and different forms of socialism, Christianity and secularism, colonialism and the World Wars.
The oldest European unification movement is the Paneuropean Union, founded in 1923 with the publishment of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi's book Paneuropa, who also became its first president (1926–1972), followed by Otto von Habsburg (1973–2004) and Alain Terrenoire (from 2004). Although this movement did not succeed in preventing the outbreak of the Second World War because of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the rise of totalitarian regimes, it led the European nations to the peaceful integration process after the war that resulted in the formation of the European Union. Fathers of the European Union were convinced Paneuropeans, such as Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide De Gasperi. The movement is today still very active in promoting the European identity and common European values, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity as well as the political, economic and cultural integration of Europe.
In popular culture
Aspects of an emerging "European identity" in popular culture may be seen in the introduction of "Pan-European" competitions such as the Eurovision Song Contest (since 1956), the UEFA European Championship (since 1958) or, more recently, the European Games (2015). In these competitions, it is still teams or representatives of the individual nations of Europe that are competing against one another, but a "European identity" may argued to arise from the definition the "European" participants (often loosely defined, e.g. including Morocco, Israel and Australia in the case of the Eurovision Song Contest), and the emergence of "cultural rites" associated with these events.
In the 1990s and 2000s, participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was to some extent perceived as a politically significant confirmation of nationhood and of "belonging to Europe" by the then-recently independent nations of Eastern Europe.
Pan-European events not organised along national lines include the European Film Awards, presented annually since 1988 by the European Film Academy to recognize excellence in European cinematic achievements. The awards are given in over ten categories, of which the most important is the Film of the year. They are restricted to European cinema and European producers, directors, and actors.
The Ryder Cup golf competition is a biennial event, originally between a British and an American team, but since 1979 admitting continental European players to form a "Team Europe". The flag of Europe was used to represent "Team Europe" since 1991, but reportedly most European participants preferred to use their own national flags.
There have also been attempts to use popular culture for the propagation of "identification with the EU" on the behalf of the EU itself. These attempts have proven controversial. In 1997, the European Commission distributed a comic strip titled The Raspberry Ice Cream War, aimed at children in schools. The EU office in London declined to distribute this in the UK, due to an expected unsympathetic reception for such views. Captain Euro, a cartoon character superhero mascot of Europe, was developed in the 1990s by branding strategist Nicolas De Santis to support the launch of the Euro currency. In 2014, London branding think tank, Gold Mercury International, launched the Brand EU Centre, with the purpose of solving Europe’s identity crisis and creating a strong brand of Europe.
There have been proposals to create a European Olympic Team, which would break with the existing organisation through National Olympic Committees.
In 2007, European Commission President Romano Prodi suggested that EU teams should carry the EU flag, alongside the national flag, at the 2008 Summer Olympics – a proposal which angered eurosceptics. According to Eurobarometer surveys, only 5% of respondents think that a European Olympic team would make them feel more of a 'European citizen'.
The .eu domain name extension was introduced in 2005 as a new symbol of European Union identity on the World Wide Web. The .eu domain's introduction campaign specifically uses the tagline "Your European Identity". Registrants must be located within the European Union.
- Symbols of Europe
- Symbols of the European Union
- Brand EU
- Captain Euro
- European Dream
- European popular culture
- Paneuropean Union
- European integration
- European symbols
- Federal Europe
- Potential Superpowers – European Union
- Pre-1945 ideas on European unity
- Proto-Indo-European language