As the Christmas and New Year festivities come to an end, water – life – these days is back on its usual course. Persons who have traveled to their original homes to celebrate them are already in their permanent residences; Those who manage to rest are already working; The goals – and uncertainties – typical of the start of the cycle are already in many heads. It is a widespread phenomenon, but has special characteristics for a certain group of Europeans: 13.3 million citizens of EU countries who live in another member state (Eurostat data, 2020). They represent 3% of the population as a whole, and are undoubtedly one of the main forces in building the European common project, either through work or through love.
Many of these Europeans take a trip to their home countries during the Christmas festivities. With their backpacks or samsonites, they shake hands with their dwarves or shake hands with their cell phones, mingling with other passengers. But, in his case, when he returns, a strange question can arise within, which usually remains intimate and in which one can be lost for a moment. Where do you feel from where you are still from? Who is the host? From somewhere lonely and sometimes bitter, hanging between the two? Of course, not only does everyone have their answer: everyone sees that their answer changes over time.
More than three million Romanians, one and a half million Poles, such a number of Italians, and one million Portuguese make up the four largest national groups displaced to other EU countries (the Spaniards occupy eighth place, with over half a million). It is interesting to see that in some cases, expats account for a large share in the working age group (20 to 65): 18% of the Romanian population, 17% of Croats, 10% of Portuguese… So much energy, so much life, went in Elsewhere. In other cases it is as little as 1% or less in the case of Germans, French or Swedes. In 2010 the average was 2.4%. In 2020 it was 3.3%. In general, the tide rises and with it the European project grows.
In short, everyone with their own history—and their changing responses—these thirteen million people spearheaded the construction of European demos, heirs to a dynasty of Greeks who settled in southern Italy, many who moved within the Roman Empire, and many others before or after. They could feel like a prop against certain winds of withdrawal from the common enterprise that were blowing, this howl if the flag of the community flew on the Arc de Triomphe instead of the French flag. The same, who, instead of the Italian, wonderfully wrapped the coffin of David Sassoli yesterday at the state funeral, which was held in Rome.
The times we live in require the European Union to take a giant leap in integration. From pandemic and climate woes to questioning the world order from China and Russia — so dangerous that the drums of war are sounding on the continent — the only plausible answer is more union, more union. This required popular conviction, to leap decisively and composure into an unknown sea, as the swimmer settled from the tomb of Paestum, in that hypnotic pictorial triumph 2,500 years ago, with an unprecedented metaphysical message, the fruit of Greek culture, Italian soil and undoubtedly developed through contact by local traditions.
A dynasty of Europeans with a homeland as a mother (which they did not choose and shaped) and another as a partner (which they later chose) is present, supporting that assimilation leap with its existence. They may have days of doubt or nostalgia, but they can count on the fact that it rains less in the heart with various love inside and that his heartbeat, without realizing it, is fueling the course of European history in the right direction.
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