Tweeting under a nice hashtag and sharing posters with positive images are very easy ways to wish a happy Europe Day. May 9 in fact is the day established by the European Union to celebrate peace and unity in Europe. Another date to keep in mind, but in the end celebrations are always a good thing. But what does it really mean to live in Europe for young people today? Asking ourselves this question might sound like a cliché – until we realize how much Europe affects our everyday life without even us noticing.
Living in Europe means being able to go abroad for university in a matter of a second – and thinking that Erasmus actually involves studying. Living in Europe means having a tour of the Parliament when visiting a friend who’s doing Erasmus in Strasbourg and getting great free gadgets. Living in Europe means eating a pizza in Italy and drinking a beer in Belgium using the same coins. And talking about travelling, living in Europe means also missing so much the stamps on the passport. Living in Europe means millions of people going to the urns at the same time in 28 different countries – not even the best organized flash mob could do that. Living Europe means being happy for the same results, but also afraid of the same threats. And living in Europe now means seeing the worrying rise of far right and populist parties all around Europe and wondering what to do to stop it. It is up to young people to take a stand against this, by going to vote to the upcoming elections to make the choice of an inclusive Europe.
“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it”. These are the words of the Schuman Declaration pronounced by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950, just in the date that was chosen to celebrate peace in Europe. And they couldn’t be more actual, since living in Europe for young people in many countries means being so lucky to never have experienced war in their borders. That is why the future is in their hands. And that is why Europe Day is worth celebrating.
by Francesca Matalon, EUJS communications officer