The European Union does already share a common culture in certain respect
The European Union does already share a common culture in certain respect. With more and more countries wanting the benefits that the EU provides, a European culture surely is imminent. One of the shared cultures already tolerated is the factor of religion. Even though many of the EU countries are primarily Christian countries, some even still being traditionally catholic countries; tolerance of other ethnic religions is one shared by all. In addition, countries that are relatively new to the EU or that have applied to become members of the EU, have an extremely strong Islamic sentiment.
Most of the members of the EU except probably Denmark embrace the element of religious difference and also welcome the multi-culturism that other nationalities can bring to their own countries. Culture is something that can take elements of others and integrate into another, creating possibly a European Culture. However, there are an element of the more traditional countries or more rural areas of a country, which are guilty of racism of ignorance and are worried by the element of change that integration will bring. Add to this the worry of their old traditions being lost and change in their opinion being forced upon them.
In more provincial areas any minor change can be seen as quite radical and not welcomed by all. Even though this can be seen as a criticism of provincial areas it is still a culture shared by some communities and could quite easily be thought of as a shared culture. Culture does have good and bad points depending on your beliefs, so all elements do have to be considered. Another common culture shared by all Europeans is the entitlement of every citizen to human and civil rights: Freedom of Speech Freedom of the press Equality of Gender Rights to Education
No discrimination regarding sexual orientation. These points cannot be argued against and it is expected throughout the EU. Another example of a shared culture. Following onto this, migration is now another expected norm throughout the European community, which does benefit European individuals. Freedom of movement is commonplace. Migration does benefit countries as a whole, particularly those countries which do have an ageing population. For Example, Germany needs a younger element of European society to replace workers in jobs that older residents have retired from.
Population growth is another benefit to ageing countries; birth rates do need to be kept up. Some countries are rewarding people to have children and are paying them through a benefits system family who choose to do so. Through this, cultural diversity is going to occur, with both old and more modern traditions being integrated into the whole of the EU. Thus creating a shared, newer culture. In fact, with the growing problems of the pensions crisis, migrants paying into the taxation systems could resolve the astronomical pensions deficit.
More specifically, European migrants paying into the tax systems does resolve the question of health care for European migrants in later years. There is a common consensus that every individual has the right to a NHS system, this being one of the most important common factors of the European Union, again an already shared culture. Even though the countries of the European Union seem together on the basics of a civil, integrated, shared culture, there are some differences.
Language is the major difference, which will never be a shared, common culture. The British are the most guilty and ignorant to the language problem. Many other Europeans have an extremely good knowledge of the English language, but sadly, the British have a cavalier attitude and A “why should we” approach, a shared British culture but not a shared European culture. Another problem that seems to be occurring throughout the EU is the more common integration of the Eastern Europeans from previous communist states.
Natives from these countries seem not to be as liberal minded as EU citizens and our culture is often a culture shock to them. Eastern Europeans tend to stick with their own communities and expecting tem to conform to western attitudes can seem impossible. But again, due to the shared culture of tolerance, harmonization does occur gradually. There are other differences too. Some European countries are fiercely protective of their core industries. France and Spain being major players in this scenario.
Agriculture and fishing embargo’s being placed on countries is always going to be contentious, but another shared culture particularly of Mediterranean countries bickering with the British is a normal way of life, we have all got used to it, again a shared culture. Culture is not about everyone and everything being identical, it is about diversity, about mixing and matching different elements of traditions and lifestyles. Differences are as important as similarities, as well as being prepared to experience aspects of different nationalities.
Some forms of individuality do keep the EU interesting. Laws on birth control, divorce and abortion are always going to be controversial. This is a difference that the UK and more catholic countries will always differ about. Social housing is an aspect only normal to the UK, another difference to the rest of Europe. The single currency again is not shared by all countries, more nationalistic countries seem to want to keep hold of their currency and heritage, Denmark and the UK being a couple of these countries.
Individuality is a concept most wants to keep to a certain extent but everything in moderation. The European Countries across the English Channel seem to share the idea and do implement the means of a more shared European culture, more so than the British public. Although British lifestyles do seem to be changing. The patterns of the British do seem to enjoy the more social aspects of the Europeans, modernisation of the licensing laws probably being the most recent change towards the rest of Europe.
The more popular traditional British foods are being replaced by more European and international menu’s: family values and the idea of the family once again becoming an important part of British life, a concept never lost in the majority of other EU countries. Probably the most important factor that all Europeans do share is the need and the expectation of peace and the prevention of war, a culture that is becoming increasingly important with the younger generations of citizens.
A United States of Europe does seem to be quite close but again the British relationship with the United States of America seems to be hindering the acceptance of the UK into the United States of Europe. In conclusion, there does seem to be a balanced argument with no majority towards a yes or no to the title statement. More trust is needed with the UK, the willingness of gradual change among all EU countries. As future generations take over from the present European population, I do believe that a European Culture will be the norm and part of everyday life.