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Diego Fernandez
Spain
What connects us?

From a historical-cultural point of view, what connects us Europeans are the great civilizations that we have built together, which have left a very important identity heritage to all of us.

By Diego Fernandez

Europe for citizens

From a historical-cultural point of view, what connects us Europeans are the great civilizations that we have built together, which have left a very important identity heritage to all of us. In this regard, the greatest European contribution from a juridical-political perspective is the creation of the social and democratic state of law. The achievement of freedom and equality as complementary values must be understood in the first quarter of the twenty-first century. We are free because we are equal, and we are equal because we are free.

Portaet of Diego Fernandez Photo: Instituto de Cultura Gitana © Goethe-Institut Democracy has evolved from the Greek civilization to the French revolution, and from this to the creation of the European Union. Democracy, like freedom, is a value in continuous evolution. Freedom is always one step further and must be perfected every spring. New rights arise when new needs arise, and equality is not conceived in the same way as just a few decades ago. We minorities, for example, fight for a society where we are equal when the difference discriminates us, and we are diverse when equality makes us lose our identity. Many states do not incorporate the so-called third-generation rights into their constitutional corpus. It is true that Europe is part of globalization and a good part of the objectives must be focused on strengthening our industrial fabric to be more competitive, and on establishing a common economic policy with the consequent macroeconomic adjustments. It is true that Europe is part of globalization and a substantial amount of our objectives must be focused on strengthening our industrial fabric to be more competitive, and on establishing a common economic policy with the consequent macroeconomic adjustments. But it is also true that Europe must be as close to the eyes of Europeans as the window of our house, and as close to the hearts of Europeans as the veins that irrigate it. Therefore, Europe still has a long way to achieve a political union in a way that allows Europeans the direct election of their European President, and a single European constituency instead of a state-based constituency.

Thus, we are connected by our past. But above all, we are connected by the future we still have to build, an exciting future where there are positive signs, such as the single market and the free movement of people and capital, but also negative signals, such as populism or religious and nationalist fundamentalisms which can ruin the common project.

Europe, then, has advanced in an evident easing of national borders, which broadens the concept of the freedom of citizens. But in this sense, I would like to mention that this modern contribution to European law was historically defended by the European Roma people, who always considered that the internal borders between the different European states were an artificial barrier for citizens in a common space that made the permeability of European culture more difficult. That is why Europe is also Roma.  Europe is heir to the music of Falla, Béla Bartók and Glinka; the poetry of Lorca; the novels of Víctor Hugo and Günter Grass; the painting of Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet and the cinema of Buñuel, Tony Gatlif and Emir Kusturica. Europe's roots themselves have Romani inspiration because our most important European artists have been inspired by the Romani culture. Therefore, I ask the following question: Do Roma people represent the free spirit of a Europe without borders?

Further reading:
Angus Fraser, The Gypsies (The Peoples of Europe) (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 1995).
Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Next question:
“Do Roma people represent the free spirit of a Europe without borders?”
 

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