The face of Europe

Today’s signing of the European Union’s enlargement treaty could hardly be more highly charged. On the one hand, there is the joy, anger and frustration of European citizens; on the other hand there is the dispassionate Europe of economic agreements and successive enlargement treaties. Today and tomorrow, the official face of Europe – with its incomprehensible bureaucratic language – meets in Athens. The EC’s use of language, its pretentiousness, and the public’s boredom with announcements acclaiming a «Europe of dialogue» are at odds with the genuine dreams and desires which have brought us to this point – we European citizens, that is, not our politicians. In our efforts to define Europe, we keep looking at the wrong things – at agreements, negotiations, ceremonies under wall paintings from Santorini bearing dove motifs (which will decorate the backdrop for today’s enlargement treaty signing, and will probably also adorn our history books for the next few generations). Which is the most European state of all? Where can the real European spirit be found? How many versions of Europe actually exist? Enlargement forces us to ponder the reasons behind the scarcity of ideologies, and the inability of Europeans to reach a common decision. If Europe’s name has more significance than its essence, the bureaucratic version of Europeanism cannot save us.