Club Europ Express – Europe: It’s Personal!

Club Europ Express – Europe: It’s Personal!


We’re thinking about how Europe is a personal thing, so what is your personal Europe? Well, another coincidence, actually I have my personal Europe
sitting here with me! I I have four friends who came to visit. There’s a
German journalist travelling across Europe doing work about Brexit,
my Polish friend who came to Wales with me 20 years ago, and my great
British friend here as well, who’s a policymaker and a wonderful chef, and we are sitting here in Cardiff in Wales. So this is my personal Europe: it’s the people that choose to live as Europeans, despite the storms brewing. It is all down to personal relationships for me, and how
how you bond with people, and how you stick by people. How do you see your personal
Europe? My personal Europe at the moment, it really lies within people, because I do really have this feeling perhaps when I was talking to you in March, but
the further this catastrophe is going the more I’m feeling whether actually I
want to stay in the UK. What’s heartbreaking and is really quite
shocking for me, because I always thought I’m going to grow old in the UK, so not only coming to terms with the fact that this might not be the place where I want to live
then takes the carpet from underneath my feet, and
the only stability and certainty is the people that I have around me, be it friends or family, and then also myself, because I also sent the two
self-portraits each because they there are my shadows and reflections. So how can we move on from this uncertainty which is very
dehumanized and depersonalized – so completely opposite of what you’re asking – so the only place to look is within our community, in the closeness of the bonds and relationships we have. That’s a very good and very sad answer. Marianna: I went to a pub in Hove, and I thought everything in Brighton & Hove is very Remain, so I had this really weird situation where I went into this pub and it was full of Brexiteers and within five minutes I was asked three times where I was from, and when I was going home. I said I do live here, and they said where do you live? I said just by the cricket ground, and he said ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was a hotel there.’ So I didn’t tell him I was actually their local councillor. The greatest thing for me in Europe is because when I was young and I have a Serbian
father and my mother’s German, came from Czech after the war and for me, when I was young, travelling was always with borders, we were
controlled at borders, and this always made you feel kind of odd, and I didn’t
have a German passport at that time, and I think for me today it’s great that we
are one nation in Europe, that you can travel without controls, even having the
same currency in a lot of countries, and feeling kind of like a unit because we have no borders and of course it’s also feeling, if you travel
through Europe, it’s kind of like you feel having a same heritage because the
Romans have been everywhere the Teutonics have been, Italians, the
Vikings have been there, so you feel kind of this spirit, this heritage
also, that always people went around and came to other places, and that
makes it for me a bit personal, that I feel that I’m in a big region
where we have a common heritage and can go everywhere we want to: that’s my Europe. And peace, of course. What are the big things? Well, we’ve got a new commission team coming in, and a new EU council president and that is going to change things. I
think we’re going to see a very different flavour, a different style
of leadership from Ursula van der Leyen than you saw from Jean-Claude Juncker. She’s going to be much more energetic; she’s gonna be much more
assertive. I think they’re much more conscious of the world around them than
perhaps Juncker was, so they’re constantly thinking about Europe squeezed between America and China, and how do they make sure that
Europe is not a victim of this kind of big power clash, and how can it stand up
for its own interests, and I think that is a really important lesson for Britain
right now, because the world is dividing into blocs, and in Europe I think they
only feel even more emboldened in that kind of world view, that Europe is
stronger as a bloc, and that of course could be problematic for Britain. Quite a few of the onlookers as we marched past were actually very positive and very friendly. We saw people waving, we saw people clapping, which was a really heartening contrast to the really quite sickening attitudes and gestures and spitting and all the rest of it which was going on from the anti-march protesters at street level. Tomek, can you tell us what is your personal Europe? my personal Europe is about hospitality. It’s not peculiar to Europe, hospitality, but I think we should work on it. We should be hospitable to other continents, to other nations, and to ourselves. First we accept ourselves and then we accept others – strangers, refugees. Hospitality was promoted in the epics of different cultures: in the Gilgamesh, in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Hebrew Bible, in the New
Testament, in the Koran, and now we need a revival of hospitality.
So hospitality is my personal Europe and Poland at the moment is inhospitable,
hostile. We must change that, and we must make all Europe hospitable. Thank you, and
love to my beloved Brighton from Lublin! My personal vision of Europe is Europe without borders, because I remember in the early 90s before Poland was part of the European Union, how difficult it was to
cross the borders, how difficult it was to travel from the west to east and from
east to west; how difficult it was to come to London – you always needed to have a special invitation with many signatures. I really dislike this past when
you needed so many permits to travel, and now I associate this kind of borders
with going to Russia or Belarus, places that are still not really democratic. So
my personal vision of Europe is Europe of democracy, of equality, and Europe without borders.

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