Poems of Liberty
Poems of Liberty: Project Europe 2050!
The EU lives and breathes through its millions of citizens. We move freely, whether for leisure, education or employment, and enjoy the benefits the EU adds to our daily lives. More and more people celebrate a European identity while cherishing and sharing their national heritage. But what does it mean to be European? Amongst other things, it is the history we share. The EU was built in the aftermath of war and hate on the continent and was initially mainly intended for commercial and economic prosperity. Although the cooperation already set sail in 1952, with the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community by six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands), it was not until the signature of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993 that the EU as we know it today came to be. This landmark stage of European integration called for a shared European citizenship and paved the way for the introduction of a single currency, as well as common foreign and security policies, against the background of the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union.
Today, EU history is taught in schools across all 27 Member States and while many EU citizens have had their own personal journey to define their relationship with the EU, we are now increasingly seeing young generations that have never known a life without also feeling somewhat European (in addition to their national, regional and local sentiment of belonging). Who would have thought in 1952 that neighbours that once fought each other could truly become friends and family; that 27 States could overcome their differences to create policies and regulations that would benefit their citizens and established the EU as the global player it is today?
No, the EU is not perfect and just like any family, it encounters challenges, be it externally or from within, that need to be addressed. The crisis of the past decade have surely put our social, political and economic cohesion and solidarity to the test. Still, the EU has prevailed and taken its seat at the table of global players. While we do need to be realistic, we are always in need of dreamers, if we want the EU to continue to prosper. One cannot help but wonder what kind of Europe its citizens imagined back in 1993 and if they would be satisfied with where we are today. Equally, now is the time to think about what kind of Europe we would like to live in in the future so that we can take action to day and build Europe 2050 together.
That is why in this edition of Poems of Liberty, we have asked poets from all over Europe to reflect on three aspects of this question and put their policy visions into poems. “Europe of its Citizens” looks at the very core of our European society and explores what EU citizenship and democracy means in the future. Meanwhile, “Sustainable Europe” explores one of the most pressing issues of our time. Our authors take us on a journey beyond the European Green Deal and into a future in which societies, politicians and the industry take responsibility and action to secure a prosperous future for generations to come. Finally, “Global Europe” takes a step back into the international sphere and elaborates on the EU’s role in the world. Each chapter will be accompanied by a brief introduction and analysis into the topic, reflecting on the input given by the winning entries, as well as a comic illustration by our Animate Europe artist Paul Rietzl.
We would like to once again thank all poets who shared their colourful and thought-provoking work with us. It is encouraging to see that so many of you are actively thinking about ways in which the EU could become a better version of itself in the future and what role we all can play in it.
We hope you enjoy the read!