Janis A. Emmanouilidis is Director of Studies at the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels. One year ago, we met him at the Futurelab Europe Annual Forum to discuss about the EU and its unresolved poly-crisis. The different problems and crisis that the EU is asked to solve daily leads to a strong frustration by the European citizens and to a hard time creating unity. As a matter of fact, European may feel, as a consequence, that it is difficult to foster a shared sense of identity and common destiny needed to generate in order to generate active support for European integration. Janis wrote to YourThought.eu:
“European identity is a very complex and long-discussed concept, which has been subject to many misunderstandings and simplifications. But one thing has become clear over the past years: European countries and societies have become increasingly interdependent – whether they/some like it or not. Their destinies are tied to each other. Sustainable solutions to common political, socio-economic and societal challenges cannot be advanced individually. And in an (increasingly) uncertain international environment, Europeans will be more and more obliged to intensify their ties and further deepen their cooperation, if they want their voice to be heard at global level. Alternatively, they will face gradual irrelevance, while others will be determining the old continent’s future.
Under these circumstances, chances are high that European identity will increasingly become an undeniable feature of our multi-layered identity construction. In simple words: being European will become normal. This process has already started and it involves not only those who already feel that they profit from the benefits of cooperation and integration, but also those who are critical of the European dimension, although we continue to lack a supranational political space to debate our differences.
But one thing should always be kept in mind: this process of Europeanisation is not about substituting national, regional, local, or any other sources determining individual identities. It rather adds another identity layer to an already complex human construction – so, at the end of the day, it should not be perceived as a threat, but rather as an opportunity reflecting the realities of the 21st century”.
Janis A. Emmanouilidis is Director of Studies and Head of the European Politics and Institutions programme at the European Policy Centre. He has published widely on the EU’s overall political and institutional development, the prospects for differentiated integration in an EU 28+, the Union’s foreign, security and defence policy and on EU enlargement. He has been an advisor for various governments, EU institutions, European parties and NGOs on a broad range of issues related to European integration and has commentated widely on EU affairs in the media. Between 2007-2009, he was Stavros Costopoulos Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens, Greece. From 1999 to 2007, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Applied Policy Research in Munich, Germany, where he was responsible for three research projects related to EU reform and enlargement. Before that, he worked as a Research Fellow at the Institut für Europäische Politik in Berlin. He studied international relations and strategic studies in the UK and economics in Germany.