European Identity

FutureLab Europe activities focus on the broad topics of “democratic values”, “equal opportunities” and “European identity”. Within these topics, three core questions structure the work of the programme and provide a framework for debates and discussions that will occupy the mind of the FutureLab Europe participants. These questions will therefore be reflected upon, developed and debated in the different activities of FutureLab Europe, including in the blogposts, at events and conferences, as well as in the written contributions provided by the participants.

1. Democratic values in Europe:

What can we, as young Europeans, do to ensure that Europe’s democratic values are at the basis of our societies?

2. Equal opportunities:

How can we, as young people, ensure that our society and economy offer the same opportunity to all of us?

3. European Identity:

Has European identity a meaning for us, as young people, and how can we contribute to further foster it?

Europe and the outside world have changed dramatically over the last decades. Cultural and economic exchanges have been growing, the digital revolution has made communication across borders much faster and easier and people do move more frequently. Young people have particularly benefitted from these developments, becoming what is often referred to as the ‘borderless generation’. Against this background, our European societies have become increasingly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and diverse. While diversity is definitively a source of value, it might also create social tensions, lead to the increased politisation of sensitive issues, and highlight significant deficiencies in how topics such as integration are addressed at the political level.

A resurgence of nationalism and extremism is on the rise all over Europe. Extremist movements and anti-European political parties gain ground in the political landscape. They have become more visible in the media, have managed to get into major political posts in some countries and to even influence the discourse of mainstream parties. What role does European identity play in this particular context? How does it relate to the ongoing trends of increased populism and retreat into national self-interest? As regards the young generation, one can observe that its opinion on the issue is getting increasingly polarised between the ones who have a ‘European experience’ (by having travelled to another European country, having been part of the European mobility programmes, having access to information etc.) and therefore had the opportunity to develop or strengthen their sense of European identity, and the ones who lacked similar opportunities. This polarisation becomes even more meaningful when it leads to split in which young people perceive themselves as winners and losers of the European system, with the latter group turning to anti-systemic parties. Against this background, how can we ensure that European identity has important meaning and significance for all young Europeans? Has European identity meaning for us, as young people, and how can we contribute to further foster it?

Read more about FutureLab Europe activities on European identity