Is the European Union kaputt?

 by Laura Vilaça

I moved to Germany – more specifically to Hamburg – little over a month ago. And you know what I realized? I haven’t been able to prove a single stereotype I got about Germany from the media in my Southern European country. And along with me, many others agreed on this. So why does the media from my country – and that of the other PIGS (acronym for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, the European countries in financial trouble) – insist otherwise?

I’ve realized that people are foolishly patriotic. And more than being that, they’re patriots who choose to trust ignorance instead of facts. And the question is: why? Because they are not necessarily given the facts. The media, much like the average citizen, has proven to have little knowledge of economy and, being so, is not capable of translating the heavy economic jargon. And this interests the heads of state, because blaming someone else is always less of a hassle than having citizens mad at you. They vote, they choose who gets what (or at least they are led to believe so) – and this misinterpretation of the political play helps supporting floating promises and inflamed speeches about Europe. The European political scene is a circus – and everyone juggles it the best they can.

merkel

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Giving back ‘demos’ to democracy

 by Laura Vilaça

I should start by stating that I am one of the fiercest critics of my generation. I believe we have been too spoiled and that this is now taking a toll in the socio-cultural evolution(?) of our countries; we were fed dreams of greatness and easy money and, stupidly enough, we still believe them. It’s a generation that, as the band Deolinda puts it when referring to internships and precarious jobs, “has to study to become a slave”.

However, a recent article on the “post-1980s Generation” got me thinking. With all this time wasted on trying to define what “we” are, more relevant debates are being neglected or left out entirely. “We”, as the present generation, are offered an incredible, historical opportunity: the opportunity to significantly change things. And I’m not referring to changing the world in a 16-and-pregnant-naïve kind of way; I am referring to the remarkable power that a mass group of people has.

The group I’m specially reporting on is the “post-1980s Generation”, born after the major world conflicts and into a world thriving with economic prosperity (in the Western side, at least). This generation is more educated than any ever was, relatively well travelled and with a defiant, rebellious spirit brewed from years of amorphous politics. In Europe, these traits cross borders, as we are more than ever bound by our common struggles and anxieties, not being able to imagine life without a common currency or open borders. Though many criticize the European Union and its policies, seldom one can find a youngster that would give up the perks of being within the EU for a more domestic existence. 

EU

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