The long and eventful day had started from the 16th arrondissement of Paris, passed by the 5th, and ended in a three-person bedroom in a brand new Romanian student accommodation complex.
By feeling European, you reap the benefits of cooperation and what’s more, it truly feels like cooperation in the common interest. You can both enjoy the glorious taste of fresh tomatoes and meet your colleagues without hiding a dagger in the pouch.
If the young adults strolling around Haikon kartano this weekend keep the spirit of Linnaseminaari at heart, and find the much-discussed courage in their daily lives, Finnish public debate on the European Union may soon look rather more visionary than what it is today.
Brexit is the British Trump, but – perhaps because it’s the European edition – it’s not shouting and carrying an assault rifle. If Brexit plans to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, it’s not announcing the plan beforehand.
As people are made to believe that they are kin with someone living at the other end of the country, it becomes much easier to justify to them why they should agree to pay taxes to distant communities, or why they should sacrifice their lives as they defend the strange region against an invader. If these bonds of loyalty can exist between Helsinki and Rovaniemi, then why not Helsinki and Athens?
Since I became involved in European affairs, I have had to witness countless group discussions that failed to reach any detailed conclusion, and which resorted to a fallback conclusion along the lines of “we really need to engage young people”. That doesn’t mean Erasmus+ isn’t making a difference.
A grassroots-based party is above all competing on ideas, not on faces. The risk is that voters will try to shape an established party from the inside, instead of abandoning ship. This risk grows if politicians lead by example.
The Commission adopts decisions as a collective and, like any cabinet in a member state, has to be ideologically cohesive for working together to be possible. If in some countries the election is won by a moderate party, and in others by a radical one, the Commission would be doomed to suffer from deep internal divisions.
At many international sporting events, among others, people are forcibly fitted into nationality-based silos that feel artificial to increasingly many people. At EYE, this is not the case. Participants are members of groups that can be based on any common interest. This is not a world of rigid country quotas, but one where people are treated as individuals.