The European Union: my dream, my joy, my hope, my playground. A playground full of fascinatingly cultural and linguistic diversity, but so tiny that borders don’t make sense ; do they?
I grew up full of admiration for Jean Monnet, Father of the European Union, a visionary internationalist who, in times of nationalism and endless wars, convinced European leaders that economic interdependence would be the way to find peace on our continent. A theory that has proven successful.
I grew up fascinated by this idea of a Union, learning the names of the member states and their capitals by heart, comparing their languages, and dreaming to visit them all.
I grew up just twenty kilometres from a border that the EU removed and we saw it physically disappear.
I grew up dreaming of a Federal Union, where the national level would become redundant and we would all form a single nation, happy to live together, sharing values that would make us a viable and human alternative to the wild American imperialism and capitalism.
I admit I was against European enlargement at first, as by increasing our diversity we were losing the potentiality of integration. But I then realised the opportunities and soon supported it.
We gained the right to move around freely, and I used it, and abused it, and still do, as much as I can. I have been on Interrail train trips, I have been on road trips, I have been on flights going all directions.
In 2002, the European Union made my life easier than ever, as I was spending it across the Netherlands and France that had a Belgium between them, and would never have to carry three different purses with the different currencies anymore.
I lived almost 10 years in the capital of the Union, where I could drive my car or get on a train for about an hour and be in 5 different countries, depending on which direction my compass was following.
The European Union made it even cheaper to travel, for example by lowering (and soon dropping) roaming charges so we don’t have to pay a fortune anymore to be around.
We got used to see little European flags everywhere in the continent, everywhere where the Union invests to build roads, railways, nature reserves, to support the local communities and build a better future for them.
Like everybody, there were some things that did not make me very happy with the European Union, and particularly how it almost blindly follows the US capitalism system nowadays. But I still believed that reforms were possible.
Three years ago, as my thirst for exploration of my beloved Europe could not stop, I moved to yet another of its member states, and I was disappointed to discover that our Union had different tiers and I was losing the benefits of belonging to Schengen. But at least, it was still Europe!
And today, populism and stupid arguments have brainwashed 51% of my host nation and they have decided that it was not worth it after all. And they have crushed my playground.
Look what they’ve done to my playground, Dad!