It’s Time to Fix Europe


My name is Giuseppe, I am 26 years old. I work in a library. I have a degree in Classical Literature and now I am studying Philosophy. I live in Eboli, a small town in southern Italy.

Everything breaks sooner or later. There is a point in time, the last act in a series of causes, which makes all things break. Paintings hang on the walls for decades, before the hook which they are attached to gives out to the weight of the frame. The bed in which I sleep suddenly makes a noise, when I turn on the side. A spring has broken, unnoticed. Sometimes it happens that a pen full of ink does not write anymore; that the computer makes more noise than usual; that a small crack has formed in the shelf filled with books.

Things break all the time. There is always a reason for this and there is a right time to fix them. That something is broken in Europe today is obvious.

Where is the broken spring? How deep is the crack? Where does that intolerable noise come from?

Broken springs, cracks, noises. It is from here that we must start to adjust a mechanism more complex than any clock: the European Union. The signals are clear and visible for everyone: The cry of the migrants knocking on our doors in Lampedusa. The rampant poverty in the south. The forced migration of people in search of a job. The worrying anti-democratic behaviour of the current Hungarian government…

Schloss Wartin ─ Berlin

In Schloss Wartin, a castle in the countryside one hour away from Berlin, European Alternatives organised a campus called #Fixeurope. About 50 activists from all over Europe contributed with their wealth of experience to an interesting event with workshops, lectures and debates about today’s and tomorrow’s Europe.

The castle suited the theme of the event well. The creaking of old doors, the damaged frescoes, the noisy wooden stairs, the sumptuous chandeliers of candles. And the explosive force of sincere passion for politics in the middle of this decaying castle. Is this not the best picture for today’s Europe? On the one hand, an active and proactive generation, on the other an institutional organisation slow and detached from reality. This is the first broken spring; the crack between Europeans and the European Union.

At the final conference, which took place at the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Berlin, we had the opportunity to listen to an inspiring speech by Saskia Sassen about European citizenship.


Just a month ago, I attended a training course in Estonia, called ACT (Active Citizens of Today). We studied the concept of citizenship, from the Romans to the present. One day Marco, our trainer, asked us to draw a map of Europe. There were 21 of us and we drew 21 different maps. At the end of that stimulating exercise, I was convinced that Europe is above all a feeling, more than it is a political institution or simply a continent.

Challenging inertia

In Italy, just a few days ago, the latest data on social development were published. They show a dramatic reality. Southern Italy is in a recession for the seventh consecutive year. Last year the number of deaths exceeded that of births. This happened only twice before: in 1867 (wars of independence) and in 1917 (World War I). The crisis is as deadly a killer as a war.

When springs break in the European machinery, the consequences are very serious.
Our generation has not experienced the drama of a war, but it faces – and will continue to do so – the worst crisis of the last century.

The campus in Schloss Martin, the one in Estonia, and thousands of other meetings organised in Europe today, are of great importance to strengthen the European feeling of young people.

In these meetings we always encounter a clear idea of Europe. A Europe ready to face present and future challenges.

Changes in history take place slowly. Today, more than anything else, we need to challenge this inertia.

Everything breaks. Everything can be fixed. And now is the time to fix Europe.

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