It’s all about values

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June 27, 2016 by apaubxl

Have you ever had a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership of your country? I bet you did! Have you ever tried to convince this totally stubborn ‘Eurosceptic’ in front of you using arguments such as economy, freedom and peace that the European Union was actually a good thing? I bet you did! Have you ever managed to convince a ‘Eurosceptic’? I bet you didn’t!

I have actually started to write this post more than one year ago, but haven’t uploaded it until now (which is something I now regret). The Brexit referendum and the debate leading to the disappointing vote however confirms my original thinking more than ever: We will never win a battle about Europe, by pledging for rational decision making. We have to address the hearts and feelings of all Europeans. The typical argument ‘Europe in the brain, but the nation in the heart’ does not work. Europe in a situation of crisis will never be judged rationally. In my article ‘From Nationstate to Superstate?’ I have referred to the importance of symbols to foster European integration. Building thereon I am convinced that these symbols need to represent clear European values to be successful. Only if every European immediately knows what ‘being European’ actually means, trust in the system can be re-built. This may sound lousy, but please let’s not fool ourselves: How many people can we convince with rational arguments if they simply contradict their feelings? Finally it is so-called ‘Eurosceptics’ who are nothing else but nationalists with fears of decreasing importance of their national feelings who use ‘arguments’ against European integration.

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