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Arroyo, Luis

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El País - Spain | 07/11/2008

Luis Arroyo on the lack of a common vision for Europe

One reason why the process of European unification is progressing so slowly is because Europeans themselves hardly identify with it, writes Luis Arroyo in El País newspaper: "Europe has a long and common history, but the Europeans aren't aware of it because their memory is dominated by the most recent internal disputes. Europe has a common anthem, but most people don't know it, it is neither listened to nor respected. Europe has a well-known flag, but it is seldom used, and for the most part people only see it on number plates or on construction sites financed with European funds. Many people would get more upset if someone burned the pennant of their favourite football club than if they saw the twelve stars go up in flames. Europe has a positive, direct and palpable influence on its citizens, but its institutions strike them as incomprehensible, bureaucratic, elite or insignificant. There is a Europe Day but hardly anyone notices it. ... And Europe has no common adversary: in the last two hundred years it has not fought together for any common cause. On the contrary, it was the stage of brutal battles among its own people."

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