Europe, May We Ask You 100 Questions?

By Felicitas Eichhorn & Philipp von der Wippel

“Renationalization will make things worse, not better.” On February 12th, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger concluded that re- nationalization will not be the answer to Europe’s current major issues. As the United Kingdom ponders whether to leave the European Union and Euro-sceptic groups in many member countries gain increasing levels of support, Europe seeks to establish the means to narrate a common identity in order to o er a vision for the European project in the future.

Controversial struggles to de ne Europe‘s identity resurface in each generation and we may ask why we should tackle them once again?

In our view, posing a question itself is already a step towards a better understanding of the other. We consider this rst issue of the periodical to be a common project, and in that spirit we invite you to nd your own answers to the following questions – questions that we think may go some way to making this new European vision a reality.

But before the curtain rises, let us, as we often have and often should, jump across the At- lantic to turn around and face Europe from afar. One of America’s most daring poets, Walt Whitman, asked “what may be the essence of the human experience?” For the Americans amongst us, who have stumbled across the following verses once or twice in their adoles- cence, we present you with this sweet Madeleine moment. And to those who haven’t had the pleasure: we invited you to take these beautiful verses as a guide to the following catalogue of questions.

“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities ll’d with the foolish,

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faith- less?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d, Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

1. Europe, what will your verse be?

2. Europe, can you imagine that there are no countries?

3. Europe, is it hard to do?

4. Europe, can you imagine there’s noth- ing to kill or die for?

5. Europe, can you imagine all the people living life in peace?

6. Is Europe’s’ future about the longest pe- riod of peace?

7. Is Europe’s past about the most brutal wars ever fought on earth?

8. Europe, are you our Zeitgeist?

9. Am I Germany, Great Britain, France, Estonia and/or am I Europe?

10. What makes me European?

11. Does it matter?

12. What is the European project?

13. Why is it in danger?

14. What does Europe mean for a generation not living through the so-called Cold- War?

15. How would Churchill, Adenauer and de Gaulle think about the Europe of today?

16. Does it matter?

17. Who is Nigel Farage?

18. Why do many people conceive Europe as a burden rather than an opportunity?

19. Is Europe a fair game with fair rules?

20. What do I want Europe to be? 21. What should it become?

22. Is the European project about the lessons learnt from the past?

23. Is Europe about all these beautiful op- portunities in the future?

24. Why am I asking all these questions? 25. Why not?

26. Am I Paris or am I Beirut and who is Facebook to decide?

27. How did Facebook become part of this questionnaire?

28. Are we too eurocentric?

29. What are you doing to inspire Europe- ans?

30. Is Europe about giving or taking away?

31. Europe why did you let Zeus take you away?

32. Why have we stopped talking about Greece?

33. Why did you really think I meant the Euro-crisis when I mentioned Greece?

34. How is your opinion of Greece framed?

35. Why did we not address the refugee crisis earlier?

36. What is the scope of Europe’s moral re- sponsibility now?

37. Didn’t we care about what was going on in Syria for the last five years?

38. Why do many people perceive the neces- sity of limiting Europe’s help?

39. Europe, how will you deal with climate refugees?

40. Who are we and who are they?

41. Is this real life?

42. What is the reality of life in Europe?

43. Why do we keep searching for a Euro- pean identity?

44. What does that concept even mean?

45. Do I have an identity?

46. Can I choose it?

47. When is my identity female, when is it male?

48. When am I the other or the same? 49. Who am I and if so how many?

50. Why are two Germans writing questions about Europe?

51. Who will read this?

52. What answers do we have to these ques- tions?

53. Pourquoi écrivons-nous ces questions en anglais?

54. Why does it matter?

55. When is the last time I did something for Europe?

56. When is the last time Europe did some- thing for me?

57. What is Europe?

58. Is it a territory or is it an idea?

59. Do I feel close to my Norwegian friends, because we are Europeans?

60. How are we di erent? 61. What unites us?

62. Does a European passport make me more European?

63. What do we mean by solidarity among Europeans?

64. Is it European to struggle side by side against youth unemployment in Spain?

65. Is Europe about one’s attitude?

66. Is Europe about being actively engaged?

67. Europe, do you embody the lesson not to submit oneself, but to take initiative?

68. Europe, how much more is there to come?

69. Europe, what is your biggest dream?

70. Europe, where do you see yourself in twenty years?

71. Europe, what is your greatest strength? 72. What is your greatest weakness?

73. How much leverage can you provide for the new generation?

74. Have you passed your peak already?

75. Or is your turn still to come?

76. Whose right is it to decide?

77. How did this turn into a job interview?

78. Actually, why shouldn’t it have?

79. Europe, why should we hire you?

80. Europe, was there ever an obstacle you had to overcome and how did you cope?

81. Europe, why is there an incoherence in your CV?

82. Europe, may I get back to you?

83. Europe, what were you doing between 20 February 2014 – 19 March 2014?

84. Europe, what do you think of the an- nexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation?

85.Europe, what is Putin up to in Syria?

86.Europe, how will you respond?

87.Europe, what are you telling us?

88. Europe, what are you withholding from us?

89. Europe, please remind me, what was the intention of the Treaty of Lisbon?

90. Europe, what about peace?

91. Europe, what about hunger?

92. Europe, what about dreams?

93. Europe, what about corruption?

94. Europe, what about pollution?

95. Europe, what about political engage- ment?

96. Europe, do we still value that we can move around freely?

97. Europe, isn’t it wonderful that I, that you, that we can speak our mind freely?

98. Europe, how could you let THIS happen?

99. Europe, how did you make THAT pos- sible?

100. Europe, what good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.