Chance or Challenge? How the European Union Fosters or Interferes with Young People`s Opportunities for Developing a Common Identity

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Britta BUSSE, Institute Labour and Economy - University of Bremen, Germany
Recent developments such as the EURO crisis or the refugees` rush are challenging the European Union as a common and joining construct. This does not only refer to the political or economic level, but also to a civic and cultural one. On the one hand, values like tolerance, peace and democracy serve as driving factors for people feeling as a part of a unified European population and thus, developing a European identity. On the other hand, differing political and economic interests in the EU member states interfere with this. Considering these prerequisites, we ask to which extent the next generation considers itself as European citizens instead of perceiving their respective national affiliation only. We point out how young people evaluate the European Union today and which expectations they formulate. Thereby, we analyse which aspects and mechanisms of the European Union as it exists today lead to an alienation from or, on the contrary, to a more solid identification with the European Union.

We use data drawn from a large scale EU project (MYPLACE), which focused on young people between 16 and 25 years. This age group is particularly important for analysing the future of the European Union as they have been growing up in its expanding structures. In order to give more detailed insights into young people`s thoughts, we use quantitative data that was gathered in 30 European locations (14 countries). For giving some explanatory insights we refer to in-depth interviews conducted with a sub sample of the survey participants.