Today, Poland and nine other European countries celebrate the tenth anniversary of their accession to the EU. I do not remember where I was on the very day of the accession but I can imagine I must have celebrated with a group of people with whom I volunteered to work in the campaign preceding the referendum on accession in Poland in 2003. The following summer, with equal excitement I worked in the election campaign in which we were to choose our first representatives in the European Parliament. Later, I was among the first generation of Erasmus exchange students who left to study abroad just one year after the accession. I graduated at Humboldt University in Berlin and until now I consider it to be my best educational and mind opening experience. Shortly after I graduated, I was accepted for a traineeship at the European Commission. Again, it was supposed to be just for a couple of months. Today, I work as an assistant to Vice President of the European Parliament in Brussels. I am also writing my PhD at the University “back home” but I cooperate on research projects with the University of Oxford and Catholic University in Leuven.
None of this would be possible without the EU.
Today, when I compare the biographies of people even just a couple of years younger than myself, I can see it even clearer, how many new possibilities that we never had are being opened to young people.
And having witnessed firsthand the difficulties the union of 28 member states must cope with, I am still convinced that this project is worth pursuing. We must work on improving our Union, on improving the governance, the transparency of decision making process and on building the true European public sphere, and these are just a few. But it is the most challenging and ambitious project we ever set ourselves on.
I do believe that acting together we, the Europeans, can do so much more than separately. I believe in federal Europe, Europe “united in diversity,” where people are aware of their roots but at the same time have wings that give them freedom to face challenges and to reach for their dreams, a Europe where we are proud to call ourselves Europeans.
In just a week, on May 9, we will celebrate the Europe Day. I sincerely hope the EU will not forget to celebrate its largest enlargement.