This is going to be a post about Europe, about Italy, my ‘home’, roots, migration and cultural identity. A bit of a mixup, so please bear with me.
When the 2016 Brexit referendum results came out I was shocked, like many others, by them. At that point I’d been living in the UK (England first, norther Ireland later) for the good part of 7 years, and I felt a little bit of a UK citizen, or at least, I felt more of a European than an Italian. So the results hit me like the shot to the heart. Back then I naively believed that borders were useless and passports just an annoyance.
A year later, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue my current position as a postdoctoral researcher. A true Generation Y kid, moving around countries in search of better jobs. Which would not be possible without Europe and its open borders. I do know that I am extremely lucky, and I do know that Europe is a good thing for this. But my ‘pro- Europe- without-doubts’ mind is taking some turns with doubts beginning to arise.
European countries are not all equal, and well, they shouldn’t be, right? If we homogenise too much we are at risk of fully losing our cultural identities.
Travel to the Netherlands, Germany and other northern countries and then go straight to Italy, or Spain, or Greece and you will see a big difference. It is obvious that the first group does not have to deal with corruptions and mafias typical of the southern countries, that bureaucracy works and there are modern systems to pay your bills and fill forms, which you can only do in person after long queues and after trying different offices in the second group of countries. Yet the second are expected to keep up with the first. But should they?
I believe it is worse for economies if those southern countries are expected to keep up with the north. It is not possible, we are different. I found more similarities between Morocco and Italy that I can find between the Netherlands and home. We may have to obey certain safety standards, yet we still have one of the greatest rates of dead people on the workplace. Would it be that perhaps with less fake bureaucracy we would do better? Left to obey our own rules? If you saw how houses are being built in Moroccan villages , what kind of wooden planks they use to climber up, from far away it really doesn’t look good, but hey the work goes on and they seem to be safe enough having it built for themselves (I bet, no health and safety forms required)...
So, somedays I wonder - shouldn't we give up on the idea of a whole Europe and maybe make two Europes?
Would make a Europe of the South centered around the mediterranean sea (and perhaps incorporating some other countries) and one of the North, help (both, so the Southern aren't as constraint and the Northern don't have to constantly spend to bail the South?),
Are there other solutions?
And can Europe ever work?
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