Can Europe Make It?

I'm a 'war generation kid' who would like to know how a united Europe should act and behave towards its citizens

Marko Boko
31 January 2014

My name is Marko and I am a 23 year old political science student, born on the third largest island in Croatia, Brač, where I lived until I turned 19. I come from a large family and I have two more sisters and brothers, but my family moved from the island to the mainland next to city of Split when I started my studies in Zagreb back in 2009.

Political science was the first and only choice for me as I have considered myself 'political' since primary school. I still see politics and the game of ideologies in everything surrounding me, especially as I am a ''war generation kid'' and unfortunately, this war discourse is still deeply inoculated through every pore of Croatian society. But, besides being deeply interested in national and Balkans everyday political/cultural life, I am also pretty committed to Europe, not just the matter of sticking to the EU, but rather - Europe as a political, cultural and economic space.

When I started my studies in Zagreb I became active in student/citizens initiatives working on social and worker rights, responsible behaviour towards our commons, defense of public interest etc. However, youth work, youth rights and youth policy are my biggest interest and passion and this is where the European level of things most effects the work of me and my colleagues. This is a perfect opportunity to meet many young Europeans and shape up the vision about the Europe I would like to see and live in one day.

I consider myself as a European, therefore pro-European (or pro-EUropean) when it comes to EU politics and policy, but definitely not an EU cheerleader, blind to what is happening. I still believe in the European idea, but what I see today is not the Europe that was dreamed of 70 years ago. Nowadays, Europe propounds values of social responsibility, solidarity among its citizens, rule of law and human rights, but on the other hand with its wrong moves, ideas and ignorance it boosts extreme right wing movements and political parties, which strongly oppose and obstruct the development of a united basis for a solidaristic Europe. These negative trends have inspired me to work on our common Europe, starting from the local and national level and trying to merge it succesfully with the European one, as the principle of subsidiarity should be a core tool of all initiatives.

You probably guess that I voted ''Yes'' on the referendum on Croatia's accession to the EU. There are a myriad of questions regarding whether or not Croatia's accession was made at the right moment. Has anything really changed for the better since the July 1st 2013?

Still I cannot see Croatia working hard (or at all) on EU affairs, therefore I still do not expect anything spectacular to happen overnight. It is up to every European citizen to work on the creation of the environment we would like to live in, but that is the point where it comes to the clash with completely different interests and ignorance of those with the real power (without underestimating citizens power) and using it to promote extreme austerity measures, inequality, social exclusion and other negative trends. It is not all about ignorance, of course, it is also about the lack of knowledge and understanding of how a united Europe should act and how behave towards its citizens.

Therefore, supporting the European idea does not necessarily mean supporting the existing political and economic establishment, but supporting the core values Europe was built on. On the other hand, it is absolutelly legitimate for everyone to propose their own vision of Europe in the European democratic arena. I am sure that I will keep working on the one that is based on trust, solidarity, social responsibility and unity, which will hopefully become strong enough and able to hear out many voices equally and create a common interest out of them. 

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