Considering Europe is an online publication dealing with European issues all the way from Brussels to the Polish town of Toruń. It is our contribution to continent-wide discussion on the politics and societies of Europe.
Why Considering Europe?
By Jaakko Salonen
Founder, in February 2017
Today, in 2017, the European Union seems fragile and is being attacked from many angles. New political forces are on the rise, the United Kingdom is leaving the Union and several other movements are threatening to follow their lead. It really feels like we are living on the edge of profound change.
In the eyes of many, the institutions of the EU already lack legitimacy because of the absence of a sense of unity, which is a fundamental contributor to the notion of sovereignty, and thus, the basis for representative democracy.
At the same time citizens across Europe are exposed to an increasingly saturated information market, in which myriad sources compete to claim different truths and construct varying discourses. These narratives actively contribute to creating differing mindsets and, thus, further widen the social, cultural and political divides in Europe.
The idea for this publication hit me when reading Jürgen Habermas. Habermas argues that the idea of a ‘European people’ can emerge through the creation of a European public sphere. Only with European-wide political communication – with networks where citizens of different member states can turn relevant societal problems into topics of concern, relate and disagree with each other – can a sense of Europeanness be developed. According to Habermas, so far, the infrastructure for a wide-ranging generation of diverse public opinions exists only within the confines of nation-states.
But I do not think this needs to be the case. In the last few years I have had so many fruitful conversations with many of the amazing people I have met around Europe. My Social Media channels were also full of European-level political debate and day-to-day analysis. In these discussions no borders were ever respected. Why could these discussions not take place within a single platform? Why does political discussion still take place almost solely on a national level?
I see this publication as our small contribution to European-wide academic discussion on topics concerning all of us. Considering Europe brings together young people with views on politics and societies. Topics can vary from grassroots phenomena to the negotiating tables of Brussels. But where does it all come together? Considering Europe is on Europe, by Europeans.