One passport, one people? The role of democratic citizenship in building a new Europe

26 March 2012

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said it was important for European policymakers to engage in a dialogue with citizens about the future of the European Union.

She was speaking after being presented with a copy of the report "One passport, one people?" – compiled from a survey of 593 young Europeans in December 2011 and January 2012 – by FutureLab Europe participants Estefanía Almenta López, Marian Cramers and Nevena Jovanović.

Responding to the report, Commissioner Malmström launched a passionate plea for more Europe. "It is only through cooperation that we can grow stronger. This is true now more than ever," she said.

“It’s easy to feel depressed about today’s EU,” Malmström said, citing as reasons the euro crisis, unemployment, lack of trust in our leaders and politicians, rising xenophobia and populism, protectionism, calls to close our borders and our inadequate response to the Arab Spring.

“However, only with ever-closer union will Europe be able to punch its weight in the world,” she argued.

“We can’t get out of this crisis alone. Only by cooperating will we grow stronger,” Malmström insisted.

Claiming that there are many strands to a person’s identity, Malmström said “European identity is there, but it’s fragile. Many of our values are actually universal, like human rights, religious freedom and media freedom, but we think of them as European”.

“Some things truly are European – like the ‘Community Method’ of giving away power to get more,” she added.

“Europe can and should defend certain values. When Europe doesn’t deliver, for example on human rights, it’s also difficult to feel European,” she claimed.

“We need a new European story to show that the EU matters. But unfortunately there’s a lack of vision today,” she said.