At the very hearth of Europe

At the hearth of Europe.

It was not
only because of the location. Strasbourg, of course, has a special meaning for
Europe unity. It was the scenario of two world wars and the city chosen to
witness the restored peace after decades of conflicts.

It was maybe
because of the timing. In the European Parliament the first sitting was held
exactly in the days of the ENTO StudyLab and we had the chance to assist to the
first session led by the newly elected President Mr. David Sassoli (Italy).

Whatever
the source is, a real sense of a common belonging to the “old dear Europe”
infected all participants to the StudyLab and inspired thoughts and discussions
about possible explanations to the difficulties the “European dream” has been
facing nowadays.

A first,
simple but quite alarming conclusion, came out: there is still, even among us,
a low knowledge of Europe, of its institutional, political and administrative
systems, of the history, values and ideas which shaped them.

The
reference is not just to the European Union and its rules. It involves even
other institutions such as the Council of Europe and the Court of Human rights,
but I dare say it also implies a better knowledge of other countries, with
their traditions and specific features.

As training
organisations we can take such a conclusion as a challenge for our future work:
what can we do in order to assure a stronger and widespread knowledge of what
Europe is?

Of course
StudyLabs are a first opportunity to be exploited more and more. But it could
be even possible to set up something new, even more creative.

For me the
expected impact is quite clearly measurable: I am expecting that in a few years
there will be no local civil servants who, after receiving the news about the
StudyLab in Strasbourg, will dare reply with a sarcastic tone “I didn’t suppose
Switzerland entered Europe!”. The dear lady, who replied so, had no idea of the
existence of the Council of Europe and of the fact Switzerland is part of the
Council of Europe since May 6th 1963.

Paolo Crugnola

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