European Cultural Identity

b.	European Cultural Identity Robert Schuman used to say that the idea of Europe is above institutions and is also a response to the deep aspiration of its peoples.

The European Union is more than the creation of a common economic area. Europe aims at a political union, capable of fostering a feeling of belonging and identity. The reality of a political community depends, not only on the existence of a project that is structured around legal and constitutional elements, separation of powers, control of the institutions by citizens, participation in the decision-taking process, and judicial guarantees, but it also depends on the strength of the link constituted by that community.

Many voices have been demanding since many years ago, that the European Union should not be limited to economics, but culture must also be included. Recently, significant steps have been taken in the political union, and new concepts have been developed, like European citizenship, which go beyond the market, affect the feeling of belonging, loyalty and identity, and are based not only on the economic and political order, but also in the cultural field. In these circumstances, the cultural aspect, which affects the collective imaginary symbolism, is essential for the future of the European project.

It has been said that the main characteristic in the history of European thought, is the idea of crisis, the capacity for internal criticism, for revision of its own institutions, for a reasonable dialogue and therefore for opening and evolution. It is true, but although this critical sense that is so characteristic of Europe is essential, we must not forget about the need for opening towards tradition and values, without which humanism becomes inhuman, as European history has sadly demonstrated. The values represented by Europe must contribute to shape the European project. They constitute their identity, because, as Ortega y Gasset said, Europe is the only continent that is, in addition, a content.

This line of research aims at contributing to redefine Europe and its culture from its roots, and contribute to the study and debate about the common European identity. With this aim, the University Institute for European Studies, publishes, in partnership with Encuentro Publishers, a collection of books under the title of European Roots. This collection publishes books that are representative of Europeanist thought and also of the founding fathers of Europe, in the context of social and political thought in the XX century.

Another line of research in this sphere refers to the cultural action carried out by the European Union from its origin to the present. It refers to the cultural action carried out before Maastricht, when the Treaty hardly included references to culture, and after the reform, which included new legal bases which have allowed a more intensive and efficient cultural action from the European Community.