With austerity and unemployment rising across most of Europe now is certainly the time for more Europe. Comments by candidate Sarkozy, seeking the racist vote were quite frankly appalling for a President or any politician seeking high office. (“They must know which side of the Mediterraean they live in”).
I make no concessions to this view. The closer, and to adopt a Chinese buzz word in its most progressive meaning, harmonious Europe we have the better for everyone. It is not just a case for eurozone countries to work together or closing down out-of-date tax loopholes between countries. We need to move to a more positive approach to Europeanness at the personal level. For far too long the EU has focused on the corporate and national. In the next period.. and starting now not waiting for the 2014-20 “Europe 2020” agenda the priority must be to bring Europeans together.
“Unity in Diversity” is being abused to mean “my diversity is paramount” as nationalism and regionalism take precedence. It is no use arguing for More Europe if the target audience, the participants are the already cosmopolitan members of European society. At the same time I think it is useless to promote some ideal “European Culture”: a favoured viewpoint of an intellectual elite.
As a starting point I recommend this publication from the Council of Europe: “A Handbook on Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Europe”. The European Year of Citizens in 2013 has a fundamental political task in taking head on politicians at local, regional and national level, the commission and civil society.