“European Identity and the Test of COVID-19”, Irene Caratelli (IAI, Italy)

What does it mean to be European? Identity is not a natural element, biologically determined and fixed in time, but the result of social processes and structural dynamics that together create a social construct. The COVID-19 pandemic has re-ignited debates about European identity and solidarity, forcing EU institutions and member states to navigate the old dichotomy of national-versus-European identity and interests – as if these concepts were necessarily in contradiction with one another. European governments and citizens cannot allow the COVID-19 emergency to (re)determine our identity and interests, erecting national barriers or trade wars. The crisis can bring us together or tear us apart, but the ultimate responsibility will rest on people, the leaders and citizens of Europe, who can determine how we will emerge from this pandemic and redefine what it means to be “European”.

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