3. Test our prejudices
E&M author Leire Ariz Sarasketa says, "Enlargement and a stronger union are also about breaking stereotypes. The DG Enlargement could create an online quiz with questions about candidate countries. Questions that we would all answer in the wrong way. And then show the real answers that we would learn to answer better if we were in this together. I know more about Poland since I live with Polish girls, and they are here because of Erasmus!"
4. A European west wing
Recently, Leire wrote a blog post about the need to create entertaining media materials about Europe. The post focused on the idea of a European "West Wing," but when it comes to enlargement, other formats would be possible. What about a reality show in which people from outside the EU visit different EU countries and learn about the "values" which Mr Sannino suggests all EU countries should share? Those of us who live in member countries might also learn something about what these values could mean!
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At our workshop Do you speak European?, participants created a film showing the different values which can form a united Europe.
5. drop the utopian slogans
Ziemowit comes from Poland, a country which has successfully shifted from "Eastern Bloc" to EU in a couple of decades. He points out that it's important to be very careful when it comes to advertising EU enlargement to post-communist states. He says, "of course, 'propaganda' is too strong a word, nevertheless many people cannot avoid the impression of similiarities between communist and European promotion. What do I mean: unnatural, crappy, meaningless words and some utopian cliches. For example - all of us are really fascinated by the concepts of "a multicultural society", "intercultural dialogue", "mutual understanding", "unity in diversity" or my favourite, "intelligent and sustainable development". But these words have lost their initial meaning and become empty slogans. What is even worse is that in communist societies there have been dozens of such words already (e.g. peace-progess-socialism, people's voting - guarantee of security, prosperity and national power). The EU discourse has to be freed from such meaninglessness. Simple, natural language is far preferable to utopian buffoonery!"
As online media-makers, we think it would be great to see the DG Enlargement making use of social media and interactive projects, rather than static TV adverts. But most of all, we want to know more about exactly how member and candidate countries can benefit from enlargement. "The more we are, the stronger we are" - but how? When do enlargement and integration stop being long words and take on a personal meaning for us?
We'd like to make one final point in response to Mr Sannino's arguments. He told us, "You are speaking for many young Europeans when you advocate a Europe of a common mindset. You were our target audience but so were those young people, as others of all ages, who are not interested in the European Union, who consider the EU remote and bureaucratic and who oppose further integration. We wanted to reach out also to them." In fact, E&M editors and authors don't share or represent a single view of the EU or integration. Our magazine exists partly to discuss different views of these issues and come up with new ideas. But it also exists to tell transnational love stories, to delve into Berlin's erotic clubs, spend time at Dutch monasteries and laugh about American stereotypes of Europeans. In other words, although some of us are just waiting for the day when Belarus becomes a candidate country, we often do find the EU remote and out-of-touch. We need other ways to feel European - and we search for them in every corner of Europe's cultural, social, sexual and professional landscape.