Acting European: Identity, Belonging and the EU of Tomorrow

The growth in the success of Eurosceptic parties at the national and international level has […]

28/06/2019

The growth in the success of Eurosceptic parties at the national and international level has led EU actors to recognise that continued support for the project requires strengthening bottom-up ownership of the Union, namely by strengthening a sense of European belonging. However, political debates around identity tend to be framed according to the far-right’s exclusionary and fixed understanding of the term. That is, discussions of this topic often repeat the assumptions of Eurosceptic parties, even when their authors are pro-European – an example being Guy Verhofstadt’s repeated references to a supposed ‘European civilisation’.

Opposing this assumption, this report analyses how European identity is performed by a set of actors and institutions. It discovers that identity is enacted as a cultural trait, as a political device and as a reactive process – driven not by geography, institutional belonging or legal citizenship but by values, ideals and ideas which are collated here under the banner of ‘Europeanness’. Finally, it looks at how the EU uses its official symbols and cultural strategy to represent such a shared sense of identity.

The examples reveal that Europeanness, rather than being a pre-existent category, can emerge in specific contexts; however, such a potential is not yet deployed by the EU in a manner that is consistent with the values of progressives. This report sets the scene for a progressive understanding of the term identity – followed by recommendations to guide future strategies and policies that foster it.

Read the study

Find all related publications
Publications
08/11/2022

Building resilient democracies

Challenges and solutions across the globe
10/10/2022

Builders of Progress – Survey

Europe’s largest Gen Z-focused research ever conducted
25/05/2022

Voting during pandemics

Making democracy resilient in turbulent times
11/05/2022

Builders of Progress: The war in Ukraine through the eyes of youth

This is the first publication of the research project Builders for Progress
Find all related events
Events
Past
29/11/2022
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Builders of Progress: Report presentation

FEPS together with ThinkYoung and Društvo Progresiva presented the report ‘Builders of Progress: Europe’s NextGen‘ in Ljubljana. The […]
21/11/2022
Madrid, Spain

Builders of Progress: Report presentation

FEPS together with ThinkYoung and the Felipe Gonzàlez Foundation presented the report ‘Builders of Progress: […]
11/10/2022
FEPS Headquarters, Brussels

Builders of Progress: Europe’s Next Gen survey launch

Europe’s most extensive youth-focused survey
Find all related news
News
20/10/2022

Europe’s largest Gen Z-focused research ever conducted

The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and ThinkYoung have conducted, over 3 years, Europe’s […]
Find all related in the media
In the media

The EU’s magic solution

by Euractiv 29/09/2022
Interview with FEPS Secretary General László Andor on the conditionality mechanism to Hungary

Omnibus Dibattito

by La 7 19/05/2022

Mehr als 2 Drittel der jungen Menschen Angst vor einem Krieg in Europa

by STOL 19/05/2022

I giovani hanno paura della guerra in Europa. E vogliono più spese militari

by 24 Ore 19/05/2022