9 May marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, a proposal signed in 1950 that led to the European Coal and Steel Community. The ECSC--a precursor of the European Union--had France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg as its founding members. It aimed to pool together coal and steel production to merge economic interests and unite Europe.
More than 70 years later, the European Union now has 27 member states and several of its institutions are based in Luxembourg. But Europe is more than its institutions--Delano gathered the personal perspectives of several people working in Luxembourg to hear what Europe means to them.
“Europe means home to me”
For Denise Rodrigues Marafona, a researcher at the University of Luxembourg who focuses on cross-border studies in the cultural and linguistic fields, it wasn’t easy to define ‘Europe’ in words. “For someone who uses the word ‘Europe’ several times a day, Europe is, in my opinion, a relationship, a bond which is always there, in good and bad times.”
“Europe means for me a place on earth with multiple cross-border experiences, especially in the Greater Region, that feels special and normal at the same time, for those who can take advantage of the cultural richness of Europe,” she told Delano.
Europe is a feeling and that is why it is so hard to define it in words
“On a personal level, Europe means home to me. As my family is dispatched between Germany, France and Portugal, I cannot exactly define in which country I feel at home. Those who live with an open heart and mind will enjoy living in Europe, as it is a place on earth where borders can be invisible, even if there are so many of them. Europe is a feeling and that is why it is so hard to define it in words.”
“Peace within our borders”
Anne-Sophie Morvan, head of business & legal affairs at the open banking platform Luxhub, talked about the importance of the freedom of movement that Europe offers in terms of education and professional development.
“Europe means to me peace within our borders. I learned at school the history of the European Union and have had the chance since then to take advantage thereof in my everyday life,” Morvan told Delano. “Through the freedom of movement, I studied and worked in different European countries, discovering different cultures.”
This multiculturalism…offers the possibility to build a more open society
“This multiculturalism, which is well represented at Luxhub as in many other companies in the grand duchy, offers the possibility to build a more open society. The European Union further enables our company, Luxhub, to offer services throughout Europe, both as an IT service provider and as regulated payment institution.”
“Peace and prosperity requires working together and talking to each other”
For Razvan-Petru Radu, president of the Romania Luxemburg Business Forum (Romlux), “Europe is above all the people, the children, the families and all human beings in this part of the world,” he told Delano. “Today we live happily all together in beautiful and prosperous Luxembourg but we should not forget the success is always a teamwork and we depend on each other. Europe Day is there to celebrate our European life values and our European culture. It is there remind us that peace and prosperity requires working together and talking to each other.”
We have this amazing opportunity to benefit from the diversity of cultures and people
“We have this amazing opportunity to benefit from the diversity of cultures and people in Europe with everyone bringing often a different point of view. This makes us stronger as a group, surviving difficult times and building resilience to risks. In the coming age of artificial intelligence and deep societal transformations, this is what it allows us to find solutions and keep building prosperity for our children in a secure and sustainable way.”
“Europe means future”
Nicoletta Centofanti, general manager of the Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Initiative, highlighted three themes when asked what Europe meant to her: unions of cultures and identities, a bright future and plenty of opportunities.
Europe means future, a bright long-term future where member states join efforts
“Europe means union, union of cultures, people, identities, and languages, sharing a common set of values,” she told Delano. “Europe means future, a bright long-term future where member states join efforts to foster education, health, safety and promote its citizens’ wellbeing. Europe means opportunity, hand in hand, union and future, constantly bringing us opportunities to continue developing and improving our lives and societies.”