The EU is inviting its citizens, in particular artists, intellectuals, and scientists to engage with and contribute to a reflection on the European ‘story’.
As artists, intellectuals and scientists, and first and foremost as citizens, it is our responsibility to join the debate on the future of Europe, especially now, when so much is at stake. Confidence in Europe needs to be regained. In light of the current global trends, the values of human dignity and democracy must be reaffirmed. Populist and nationalist narratives must not prevail.The Mind and Body of Europe is our response to the call of the European Parliament and of the President of the European Commission to draft a new narrative for Europe for all citizens. This document is not a point of arrival. Rather it is a catalyst that we hope will trigger more contributions to the debate.We believe that for there to be a true and well-functioning political body in Europe, an understanding of what Europe as a “state of mind” stands for is vital. We also know that a narrative tying Europe’s distant and recent past to the present and providing a vision for the future is equally essential.Europe is a state of mind formed and fostered by its spiritual, philosophical, artistic and scientific inheritance, and driven by the lessons of history. It must also now become a genuine and effective political body that has the ability and sensibility to rise to all the challenges and difficulties that European citizens are facing today and will face tomorrow. From youth unemployment to climate change, from immigration to data security, the list is long, and the urgency is even greater.
Europe is a state of mind that goes beyond a grouping of Nation States, an internal market and the geographical contours of a continent. Europe is a moral and political responsibility, which must be carried out, not only by institutions and politicians, but by each and every European. Europe is a source of inspiration from the past, it is emancipation in the present, and an aspiration towards a sustainable future. Europe is an identity, an idea, an ideal.
Europe is a state of mind shared by citizens across the continent. The students, researchers, scholars, artists, professionals and politicians who live, study, work, think and journey across national borders, do so in order to deepen and expand their knowledge, unleash their creativity, and widen their opportunities. They retrace and revive the routes of the men and women who since Antiquity, and increasingly during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, developed for Europe a shared grammar of music and art, a common body of science and philosophy, an astonishing richness of literature and a flourishing network of trades.