I am an Italian university student living in London and a contributing editor to Europe & Me. I feel journalism coming from a single cultural perspective can never tell the whole story.
I’ve always had a strong European identity. My father’s work for the European institutions resulted in my family moving from one European country to another. No nationality could particularly define where I felt I came from. The only stable factor in my sense of identity was a sense of being European.
So when, as a university student in London, I came across the award-winning online magazine Europe & Me I knew I had finally come home, to a place that could give a voice to people like me, who want to understand and analyse news outside of a national framework.
Europe & Me was created in 2007, by five young people from different European countries, to provide a different type of reporting from that of many other European news outlets, which just lump European current affairs together as foreign stories. Now in its 30th issue, the magazine has established itself as a space for a truly transnational dialogue for young people in a turbulent era of euroscepticism. E&M creates links between different European countries and a network for young people interested in Europe as something more than a set of institutions or geographical entity. This in turns engenders a collective sense of European identity in its readers and contributors.
The five sections of the magazine are name after parts of the human body, something we all inhabit: Brain is a section in which to think seriously about Europe, Heart gives our readers intimate, personal stories with a “European feeling”, Diaphragm offers entertainment, Baby explores sexuality in Europe and Legs symbolizes travel and progress. Each article must have a transnational slant, exploring how two or more European countries approach and are affected by a variety of issues, ranging from the Uber phenomenon to the refugee crisis.
In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, plagued by rising right-wing extremism and intense, exclusionary nationalisms, Europe has never seemed so fragmented. The EU is being scapegoated for everything going wrong in Europe – from the financial to the refugee crises and everything in between. European countries are turning inwardly and thinking nationally and selfishly. But what happens in Europe does concern us all.
Europe is often only identified with policies and institutions, yet it's so much more than that: Europe is a state of mind. We want to give a voice to the emerging young European public, the “Erasmus generation”, and together create a new perception of a European community not defined by the nation state model.
We believe that by making Europe personal we can create a better understanding of it, as something people can relate to and identify with. This is, after all, the space where we will all live our lives, studying in one place, working in another, doing business with people in a number of other places and maybe retiring somewhere else again: we cannot afford to feel like strangers anywhere.
And when it comes to Britain, fostering a collective sense of European identity has never seemed more important given the upcoming referendum on its membership in the EU. Some will argue that the referendum can only be won by scaring people or by persuading them they’re better off in. But it’s deeper than that: Britain needs to realise its young people are indeed part of Europe culturally and emotionally.
From time to time we'll share exclusive interview clips (including never-seen-before footage), the most incisive blog posts and the most interesting dispatches from our event organisers as they take the europe debate to the furthest, biggest, smallest, weirdest, most unusual places around europe and beyond.