A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion
Edited by Maria João Rodrigues
Chapter 7: The construction of European identity
Manuel Castells PRELIMINARY REMARKS This is not a research paper. It is a policy-oriented document prepared at the request of the Portuguese presidency of the European Union in the ﬁrst semester of 2000. It does rely on a number of materials, information, and analyses, most of which can be found in my trilogy ‘The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture’ (Oxford: Blackwell, revised edition, 2000). In this context, I will not try to demonstrate my points. This is written in statement mode, to suggest ideas and directions for discussion, with the purpose of advancing in the construction of European identity. I will not be dealing here with major strategic issues, such as economic policy, technological development and the restructuring of the welfare state, without whose proper treatment, discussions about identity become an empty ideological exercise. I am aware of other contributions included in the same volume, prepared for the Portuguese presidency of the European Union on these matters. They are excellent papers, I agree with them in their main lines, and I will avoid to be redundant with their contribution. I will start with one previous question: is European identity a relevant matter in the construction of the European Union? 1. WHY EUROPEAN IDENTITY IS IMPORTANT After the creation of the euro, and the constitution of the European Central Bank, the European Union is, for all practical matters, one economy – waiting for the full integration of UK and Sweden to consolidate the union. Any reversal in the process of integration...
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