Sunday, January 15, 2006

Being European

How many times have you asked yourself ' how can we develop a better understanding of the more ethereal notions of being European?' I know I do at least eighteen times a day. To their credit BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House dedicated more than five minutes at the end of their programme this morning to this question and to the future direction of the EU and its constitution. It started at about seven minutes to ten if you care to listen even though it doesn't get a mention on their web page.

The piece spent some time looking at Austria (which now holds the presidency) and its constitution since the breakdown of post war consensus. A comparison was drawn with the European project now that the EEC of six countries firmly wedded to the social model has evolved into an EU of 25 countries without such a common commitment. I think people often forget how young the EU is; they expect it to be perfect even though it's only just begun. Fascinating to be able to witness its progress. I liked the theorist who said that lovers of Europe must accept that it exists as many different cultures and many different political structures. For me that's part of its joy and strength. He said European identity is not like a lake but like a river; not static but changing. Try telling all that to the Daily Mail.

And try suggesting we all fly the EU flag on Europe Day. Anyone know when Europe Day is?

Oh, and the ever entertaining Phil Hogan took his mother to Paris for the weekend. "She has been desperate for foreign adventure since sending off for her first passport three years ago, the year after my dad died. The pair of them rarely went further than you could get back from on half a tank of Esso Extra. Now suddenly she's Amy Johnson."


At 18:35, Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

I agree. What's all this about British icons anyway? Spinster aunts cycling to score the local cricket match and cucumber sandwiches have flown out the window. Is there honey still for tea? No, it's chicken tikka marsala, and a lot nicer it is too. National identity is indeed a moving target. And so is what it is to be European.

May 9th. But then I have an unfair advantage.

At 19:55, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Yes, I thought you might know!

And thanks for the plug on your exciting site (I haven't recovered from Ms Rice's boots yet)

British icons (circa 1980) - net curtains, morris men and constipation. But it's getting better.....


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