Margaritis Schinas, the Commissioner-designate for “Protecting our European Way of Life”, is not in charge yet but he is already swamped with emails, calls, tweets and owls from citizens, national governments and members of the wizarding community, all trying to help him defining what the European Way of Life is.
“Crusades, that’s what makes us Europeans”, say the Hungarians; “Hospitality is better, we opened our borders first”, reply the Austrians. Italians argued that hygiene is more important, and asked to make bidet compulsory in every European household.
Ok, why don’t we focus on something easier, like food and drinks?
“On a hot summer day nothing is better than hladna pića” say the Croatians, leaving the Slovaks rather shocked. Bulgarians insist on making Ajvar the only allowed spread in autumn, while Romanians prefer Zacuscă. “What’s the difference?” ask the Maltese, “a few slices of Gbejniet, that’s autumn”.
“Jumping in a frozen lake after sauna is the best way to feel alive in winter”, insist the Finns, while the Cypriots caught a fever just imagining the scene. “German wine is the best way to welcome spring”, conclude the Germans, as the French laugh loudly. Swedes push for fika during the whole summer, “All three weeks of it!”. Slovenians would rather go fishing: “But our neighbours don’t let us enjoy this activity”.
Forget it… Maybe religion?
“The Inquisition was quite popular” suggest the Spaniards. “Catholicism” shouts an Irish voice, but a group of Huguenots forces it to shut up. “…Christianity at least”. “Actually, we are proud of our original and natural-driven pagan festivities” whisper the Latvians. “And have you ever heard of Greek and Latin culture?”
Ok, let’s keep searching… The portfolio contains the dossier on refugees integration, migration and asylum policy… Maybe Islamophobia? “Well, it is one of the main fear that we spread” Poland says. “Actually, we are scared of anybody who hears voices or believes in books written thousands of years ago”, say the Czechs: “Atheism is the main European value”.
“Anyone else here is afraid of the Russians?” ask the Lithuanians. “Not really, they are so far away” reply the Portuguese. “Winter would be very cold without them and our bank accounts empty” shout a few extreme-right political parties.
“What about investments?”, suggests Luxembourg (abbr. LUX) is one of the funding members of the European Union, with a curious inverse relationship between its size and the cost of housing. Its considerable community of eurocrats is haunted by the constant feeling of being ignored by their colleagues in Brussels. Or the rest of the...
“You mean exploitation?” reply the Greeks
“Embracing the digital age?” propose the Estonians vigorously
Danes approve but the Belgians run to look up the term “digital” in the printed version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
No input from the Dutch?
“We’re rolling some home-made cigarettes. Weed is what you need if you really want to embark in this discussion”
“These are just silly stereotypes, good for satire, but nothing else”, say the Europeans. “We are more than the sum of our parts: accepting, confronting and appreciating differences, this is what made us unique in the last decades.”
We hope this helps a bit the discussion
Good work to you, Commissioner Schinas. Your portfolio is a very sensitive one, acting and communicating properly on these matters is vital for the future of our beloved Union!
P. S. If you feel that “Protecting our European Way of Life” is an unsettling name, it means you actually do have a European way of life
P. P. S. Meanwhile, melancholic Brits are sipping their tea, nostalgically thinking: “We’ll miss all the fun!”