Choosing to discuss the idea of “Europe’s soul” carries the inverse implication – or perhaps it is more a suspicion – that Europe lacks such a thing. It would also seem to suggest that what is missing from the European project is a vision of the future, or a dream. If that is the case, we must do something about it, whether that means “we”, the Europeans, or “they”, the policymakers.
For most Europeans, Europe has become an abstract, alien entity. They are no longer sure whether they should identify with it or dissociate themselves from it, whether they feel represented or repressed. As such, the image of Europe is a contradictory one. The word “image” is useful; Europe’s image is something quite different from the picture we have of our continent. An image is also a make, a brand, the product of a long series of past images, of stories, of tradition, of propaganda, of personal experience and reputation. Our feelings about Europe’s soul relate mainly to this image. Europe needs to regain its tarnished self-esteem, in order that it can recover its soul.
more from The New Statesman here.