At the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, several E3G staff share their thoughts and feelings about the European Union, and their European identity.
Maybe it is particularly easy to feel European when you grow up next to a border shared by befriended nations. As long as I can think back, my parents took me hiking and skiing to the nearby Austria and Switzerland. I felt ‘home’ in the picturesque landscape of the Alps – even when I was abroad. Once I had understood the concept of a nation state that didn’t change much.
The European in me fully woke up when I learned about the possibilities to study abroad. I could not have exhausted them more: Bachelor in the Netherlands, Master in the UK and PhD in Hungary, now I live and work in Belgium. Most of my adult life I spent outside Germany.
“You are one of the few people I have met so far that have a stronger European than national identity”, once a friend said to me. I am not a fan of such rankings, but if I had to rank I’d have to agree with him. My European identity is most pronounced, followed by my regional identity. That I am German by nationality plays less of a role to me.
Sometimes people ask me if I ever think about returning to Germany, to live and have a family there. To me, this question feels odd. There is no point for me to return somewhere. I am already home. In Europe.