Three good reasons to support FraternitÃ©2020
Jean Monnet, considered one of the founding fathers of the EU and the 'brains' behind European integration, used to say: "We unite people, not states." In that sense, the economic and political level of integration achieved in the EU today is far from being the end-point of the European project. In fact, it is just the prelude to what is coming next: The integration of the European civil societies!
So, in this section we would like to give you a short forward-looking notion of what this initiative is about. What would change if FraternitÃ©2020 were to be successful? If more people would cross borders within the EU, how would that affect Europe and you? Below we have tried to give some preliminary answers.
Higher mobility = Higher growth
Although FraternitÃ©2020 is not about making Europe's economy stronger in the first place, it is interesting to look briefly at the potential economic effects: First, higher mobility will make it easier for people to take up jobs in other countries where their skills are needed, therefore bringing unemployment rates down across the EU and boosting economic growth.
Also, participating in exchange programmes develops personal skills such as language skills and the ability to work with people from different cultural backgrounds, which are increasingly looked for by practically all companies and organisations when hiring.
Finally, more people taking part in (also financially) more attractive exchange programmes will certainly stimulate consumption, as people that participate in these programmes usually do not stay at home and save money, but rather go out in order to meet new people and to explore the unknown environment.
From a social perspective, spending time in a foreign country helps building a European identity. This means that more people across the EU would have a feeling of belonging to this great European family, even though we keep speaking different languages and maintain our national identities. When you think about it, this would be quite a unique step in the history of mankind.
Also, the person doing the exchange could be viewed as an ambassador of her/his home country, thereby addressing stereotypes that might be present in the host country and forcing people to look beyond clichÃ©s.
In turn, when the person returns to her/his home country after the exchange, she/he will be acting as a mediator, being better able to explain why a particular EU country has a problem with certain issues and to translate these concerns into the language and mentality of the home country, thereby making real dialogue possible.
People that read about this initiative might be afraid that winning a European identity is losing a national identity. These people fear that their home country might vanish to exist - in terms of language, traditions and all that makes it unique from all other European nations - and be replaced by some European super-culture. That would be a nightmare scenario, indeed!
To address these fears we would like to remind you what this initiative is about: It is about enabling EU citizens to spend some time in another country on a voluntary basis. It is not about taking diversity away from Europe or about detaching people from their home countries! It is about new cultural encounters that can give birth to new ideas, challenge accepted ‘ways of doing’ and ‘ways of seeing’ things and enrich our understanding of ourselves and others.
What would a united Europe add up to culturally? We don't know. But we would like to find out! That is what FraternitÃ©2020 is about.
The above reasons aren't by any means exhaustive: For example, many of the skills needed to get along in a new country fit perfectly with developing a spirit of entrepreneurship, therefore eventually stimulating SME growth across Europe - the backbone of any strong economy. From a social perspective, one could have understood the point in the sense of 'social justice' and claimed that FraternitÃ©2020 is socially fair as it will enable all people in Europe to spend time in a foreign country, not only those that can get financial support from their parents or a rich home country. And regarding our points about culture, we could have probably mentioned 1000 or more points about why every single EU country is as fascinating and adorable as it is.
Anyway, all of this shows that - when you think about it - there are really a lot of very good reasons to support FraternitÃ©2020... click here to learn how.