The notion of identity originates from individuals who label themselves as affiliate members of a certain group such as social, nation, subculture, class, gender, ethnicity, employment and so forth. The paper demonstrates the meaning of the European identity and its importance to the future of the citizens and union. In addition, it analyzes the union’s communication activities and their persuasive impacts on the citizens. It seeks to clarify whether the establishment of the European identity will have impacts on the Union in the future. Historians and sociologists refer to this problem when speaking about regional or national identity. Nowadays, all EU member states are easily considered synonymous with Europe, because the largest part of the continent is under the jurisdiction of the European Union. Associating European Union with Europe is a quite common error, which is also reflected in the definition of European identity (Worchel, 1998).
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Over the past few years, European Union (EU) has been an imperative political force in Europe despite the changing support from member countries. Over the years, leaders of the European Union have advocated that it should assume new responsibilities, which calls for the need to intensify the process of integration. The creation of a supranational democracy is one of the many goals of the integration project. Evolving entity is among the functions considered by the union as an unfinished project, which are characterized by multiple tiers of governance and sovereignty. Certainly, the union cannot be defined as a state, because it lacks monopoly over the means of coercion as well as the central government and powers of taxation. Attaining supranational democracy calls for structural changes that should be aimed at modifying its status. The union needs to set stronger structures which embrace best knowledge for each member country (Checkel, 2009).
The roles of the European identity are to improve the reputation of the European Union and create a positive image. European identity has emotional implications which are directly linked to the political development of the European Union’s powers and institutions. The origin of this interconnection is based on the union’s concept of identity and its sociological and psychological aspects. The citizens of this union are driven towards a deeper political attachment and involvement. A stronger European identity will move the citizens to a status of active players from semi-passive ones, where they will advocate for EU through strengthening of its future. Persuasive communication is a key strategy in the political development and governance. More political goals are realized through the use of the power of communication, which is critical during implementation of information campaigns that serve specified purposes. The power of communication is indirectly employed in the organization of activities aimed at persuading the union’s cause through the use of different emotional messages. The promotion of European identity is among the indirect actions that the power of communication has been employed to promote (Fligstein, 2008).
The concept of the European identity presents a radically new paradigm where rights and identities of Europeans are duplicated supranationally and nationally at the same time being based on adherence to political and civic norms rather than ethno-culturally norms. This separation of the cultural and territorial aspects from the legal dimension of identity is critical for developing civil society beyond physical boundaries. Further development of supranational project will transform the European Union into a multi-ethnic society where distinct ethnic groups, regardless of their differences in race, culture, and history, are integrated under a common social identity (Fligstein, 2008).
European identity is a fundamental aspect for the future of integration of the European Union. The first reason of great value is ingrained in the concept of supranational democracy, and the second one is the most naive explanation expressed in the idea of “unity in diversity”. Since the establishment of the European Union, the European Commission has worked hard in promoting its public awareness and identity, because the continent lacks affectivity and emotional attachment. The commission acknowledges that the absence of European territory and people undermines the legitimacy of its projects, which is the main reason behind the heavily invested campaign for the European identity.
The concept of integration or unification is necessary to provide equal and guaranteed benefits which are not domestically available to all member states. Such benefits include economic well-being and peace which is relative to the creation of a more competitive and larger European market, political stability, greater international influence, and broader citizenship. In this sense, the union’s integration campaign combines the ideology concept with the socio-political concepts. These ideologies aim at creating solidarity, empowering a dominated group, organizing struggle as well as sustaining opposition. On the other hand, there is a negative ideology which serves to legitimate inequality and power and is assumed to hide, conceal, and obfuscate the reality, truth or, indeed, the material, objective condition of existence and interest of social formations. Both positive and negative ideologies serve to protect resources and interest whether these are minimum conditions of existence or unjust privileges (Checkel, 2009).
True democracy is the basis of validity for promoting the European identity, and it is presumed that it can exist only if the European identity and territory exist. In any democracy, there must be territory and people, which form a set of individuals who collectively make binding decisions under some democratic rules. When these binding decisions are imposed to people who do not subscribe themselves as members, then the democratic rule will be an imposition regarded as a non-consented procedure. This makes the constitution of a territory a precondition for democracy as well as the future for integration. Moreover, many individuals within the European states are usually not keen to observe democratic rule at European Union level, because such rule has not been approved by many citizens in member states. Basing this argument on that perspective, supranational democracy is only feasible when Europeans begin to feel that they belong to the broader supranational territory – the European Union (Fligstein, 2008).