Dear Europeans, are you from Europe?

Oct 25, 2017
4,856
#1
Allow me to clarify.

The European Union is 23 years old now and has been steadily adding (more or less) members throughout its existence. There are now 28 member states that compose it.

The Schengen Area agreement allows EU citizens to live & work freely across the following 26 member states, with NO visa required:

  • Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.​

Therefore, a whole generation of Euro adults have grown up in a world in which they could live & work freely throughout 26 countries in their continent.

Which is incredible, by the way. I'm interested if this has fostered a European identity in this millennial generation.
  • Given that, do you - as a European - feel that there is or is a growing Pan-European identity? It does not necessarily negate your identity with your specific country.

I.E. Do you identify both as a European AND as your own country? How is this changing?

  • Adding a wrinkle to this topic: I've heard that it's a common sentiment of the British to not consider themselves European. Is this an Islander thing?

  • There's also the Benelux: a economic-political union between The Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg. Is there a strong cultural bond between these 3 nations beyond political need?

Thanks Euro-Era. Not only in advance for addressing questions, but also for existing.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
818
#2
You did it, against all the odds, you made yet another Europe thread.

Also I'm not from Europe so I can't comment on the subject at hand,.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,254
#4
I was born in Slovakia but live in Canada, I would identify my self as a Canadian/Slovak cause I have citizenship with both.

I would't never say I was Canadian/European.
 
Oct 26, 2017
961
#5
For your Benelux question, I don't know if i would call it a strong cultural bond but there is this sort of mutual bond between The Netherlands and (Flemish) Belgium in that we enjoy taking the piss out of eachother.

As for the rest, I don't feel European but i very much recognize the value the EU adds to the continent.
 
Oct 27, 2017
462
The Netherlands
#6
I'm Dutch, born and raised, and yes I would identfiy myself as Dutch/European, when I speak with other Europeans I identfiy more as Dutch, but with my international friends I'm more European.

As for the Benelux bit, yeah we do joke about eachother but in the end I (and I think most Dutch people) feel really close to the Belgians, and especially the Flemish. Our ties with Luxembourg are more historic ties though.
 
Oct 26, 2017
327
#8
As someone from The Netherlands I do identify as both, but seeing recent news I don't think the sense of identity is increasing for most people but instead going the other way.

As for the Benelux, I don't consider that to contribute to a cultural bond, there is a bit of shared identity with Belgium (Flanders) though.
 
OP
OP
Taki
Oct 25, 2017
4,856
#9
I'm Portuguese, and I'm European
Erasmus generation will forever feel European
Erasmus - that's important and I forgot about that. That's the program that allows university students across the EU to study in other EU nations? Is it for free?
 
Nov 1, 2017
599
#11
Honestly no, I am 39 if that colors my thinking. I think of myself as a Swede 99% of the time. I feel European during that golfing contest between US and EU. Does that count?
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,376
#13
Erasmus - that's important and I forgot about that. That's the program that allows university students across the EU to study in other EU nations? Is it for free?
Yes it is. Usually 6 months or 1 year, and you only have to pay for housing and food
Many of my friends got girlfriends from other countries do this

Erasmus did so much to fortify the European identity
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,353
#15
German here. What I identify as depends on who I talk to, and what difference in opinion and practice that likely predesignates.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,254
#16
Honestly no, I am 39 if that colors my thinking. I think of myself as a Swede 99% of the time. I feel European during that golfing contest between US and EU. Does that count?
lol yeh, I only felt 'European' the last time the NHL made their 'world cup' thing cause there was a European team.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,411
#20
I’m Belgian, and I do identify myself as a European in the sense that I love the European project and I’m for strengthening European bonds. But to speak of a European identity? I think that only exists in a contrast to other ‘identities’ and generalisation, and not realy in practice.

When I talk to an American for instance, it happens we talk about the difference between the states and Europe. But it’s not so much about identity per se, but about how Europe ‘works’. In the end, talking to non-Europeans I meet, I mostly talk about being a Belgian and what makes being Belgian unique, and what is particular about Belgium (I would argue we’re probably the country with the least amount of own identity too)

There is definitely a difference between me, a Belgian and for instance a Frenchmen or a Portuguese person in cultural identity. I don’t really believe in the existence of a pan-European cultural identity (hell, I don’t really believe there exists something as a singular identity in countries, as you always have regional and personal differences), though I do believe in the European political project of unification.


EDIT: I want to add that in my generation (born late 80ies, early 90ies) and younger I see more and more people less ‘rooted’ in their home country. The idea of living abroad in another European nation isn’t so foreign as it was for my parents. It’s still a big minority who does it, and most of those who do have partners from other nations they met trough travel or exchange programs, but there is definitely a growing ‘Erasmus’-generation.
 
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Sep 21, 2018
476
#25
Im most definitely European as well as English. I spent some time when I was younger travelling around Europe and always felt like I was at home.
 
Oct 30, 2017
153
#28
As a French born and raised moving in a few days to Germany, having relatives in Belgium, UK, Spain, I feel proud to be French and European. I don't know if I could live as I do now without Euro, freedom of movement and easier rules for European citizens in other EU countries.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,963
#29
I don't have the feeling a pan-european identity has really taken hold outside of big international hubs (in a way that a person would consider it more important than their national identity).

The sentiment definetly exists, but my impression is that it's not that common, even among young people.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,376
#31
Oh wow, I can see how that can result in a lot of international marriages across the EU in the long run.
Last year I went to the wedding of one of them, a Portuguese and a Polish girl
One of the many Erasmus love stories

There are a few long form stories about this. It will be funny to see the effect in a generation or two.
 
OP
OP
Taki
Oct 25, 2017
4,856
#32
Im most definitely European as well as English. I spent some time when I was younger travelling around Europe and always felt like I was at home.
That's what I was wondering about: Whether there's a psychological effect of not having to line up in an immigration border checkpoint, visa in hand, just to cross from say Germany into Poland, and then Poland into Slovakia....

I think as kids, if we have to line up in line to have a scary customs agent OK us, that has an effect of imprinting on us: the idea that there is US and THEM, and that THEY are different.

But if, as a kid, you just freely walk across the border from Italy into Slovenia.... It's like borders don't even exist. It wouldn't even cross your mind.

Those kids grow up, find jobs and relationships in another country easily due to Free Movement... If politicians try to take that away, of course the newly grown up generation will rebel.

I'm rooting for you guys to succeed and set a good example for the world.
 
Oct 27, 2017
168
#33
No, I don't feel European and I definitely don't feel part of some greater Benelux something. To be honest, I barely even feel dutch.
 
Dec 23, 2018
262
#34
I’m a Brit and I see myself as that rather than a European, not that I’m either particularly proud or ashamed to be a Brit either way.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,833
#36
Netherlands / Dutch. So automatically European. But i still see it as separate countries.
I like Europe but some countries are a bit behind on the progressive curve.
Nice that we don't have to wait as long at the border as we used to in the past.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
824
Japan
#38
I'm from Spain and I guess I'd identify myself as someone from Spain / Europe, yes.
As Taki said above, having no customs agent checking when moving within Europe makes it feel like one large country. I like that.
 
#39
I'm Portuguese, and I'm European
Erasmus generation will forever feel European
This. Ironically, I studied abroad in two non-EU countries (one of which isn't even in Europe), but in both I met great people from all over Europe.

I haven't lived in Europe since graduating, but it's great to know that if I were to go back, I could go anywhere on the continent, not just France.

Macron's unapologetically pro-EU stance was a huge reason why I voted for him both rounds.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,808
#40
I feel less European than Mediterranean in a way. Food is a very culturally important to me, and Moroccan, Spanish, Algerian, southern French, Italian, and everything up to Turkey ring some very personal notes to me that other specialties don't. Must be the olive oil. Or the Roman Empire roots.
I'd say my identity is French=Mediterranean>European.
European identity is also something I feel, but it's as an attachment to a political project I believe is paramount for the survival of the other identities.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,762
#42
I was born in a country that is now part of the EU and moved to another EU country to live some 19 years ago. By all means I feel myself European rather than from the countries I lived in. Being able to move around freely is awesome and so is the mixture of cultures and tradition. You get to meet a lot of different realities like this.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,838
#45
I'm personally enjoying the continuing adventures of Taki exploring the world.

As for the question, of course I do. I'm both from The Netherlands and from Europe, those are fairly normal. That has nothing to do with SHENGEN, EU or anything, it just has to do with differentiating ourselves from those silly Americans and to remind Brexiteers that they will always be European whether they want to or not.

As for the Benelux, nah... Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourgish people are completely different with completely different political environments, cultures and (mostly) different languages. Flemish and Dutch people do share a bond as in 'we can understand what we say' (most of the times, some local dialects are nigh impossible to understand for people not from those specific areas, like Limburg, Twente and West-Vlaanderen), but it's not like we feel very connected with Flemish people.

Erasmus - that's important and I forgot about that. That's the program that allows university students across the EU to study in other EU nations? Is it for free?
Yes and no.

1. Since studying is never free, you're still technically paying for studying abroad, just not anything extra.
2. You obviously still have to arrange everything there like housing, travel, etc.
 
Sep 21, 2018
476
#48
That's what I was wondering about: Whether there's a psychological effect of not having to line up in an immigration border checkpoint, visa in hand, just to cross from say Germany into Poland, and then Poland into Slovakia....

I think as kids, if we have to line up in line to have a scary customs agent OK us, that has an effect of imprinting on us: the idea that there is US and THEM, and that THEY are different.

But if, as a kid, you just freely walk across the border from Italy into Slovenia.... It's like borders don't even exist. It wouldn't even cross your mind.

Those kids grow up, find jobs and relationships in another country easily due to Free Movement... If politicians try to take that away, of course the newly grown up generation will rebel.

I'm rooting for you guys to succeed and set a good example for the world.
I didn’t think about it at the time but not having to worry about borders was a big reason why it felt so comfortable. It makes me sad to think of border controls coming back.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,522
Norn Iron
#49
I'm from Northern Ireland, and have always felt kinda British and kinda Irish but also European too. Now, with everything around Brexit and the Tories over the years, I feel more Irish and European and less British.
 
Nov 15, 2017
1,049
#50
There are so many different cultures and languages it's hard to know what it means to feel european, or if that even exists. But we do need to build that identity and sentiment, and fight against the rise of the new fascists that are threating the continent. The EU has helped to keep the peace in the continent since WWII.