What Europe in 2054?

  • 2024-06-04 22:19:32

Only a few decisive days separate us from the much-anticipated European Parliament elections, scheduled between the 6th and 9th of this month across 27 European countries. Theoretically, these elections are fundamental, organized every five years, and their results outline the main political directions and changes on the continent. In practice, we can say that this year’s elections are indeed one of the crucial and pivotal moments in Europe’s recent history, expected to be among the most tumultuous and highly anticipated, especially in light of the notable progress of far-right parties in many recent polls.

The intensity of this year’s election campaigns has been remarkable and unprecedented throughout Europe, reaching its peak in recent days. The main fuel of these campaigns remains the immigration issue. Due to failed policies over the past years, this issue has unfortunately become a tangible reality in European streets. Many people express their concerns about the many consequences of immigration and its impact on sensitive issues such as security, education, purchasing power, health, and many others. However, the biggest concern for many remains the effect of this chaotic handling of the immigration issue on the future of European identity.

Beyond the illusion of the “great replacement” theory promoted by some far-right parties, there is a real and deep fear among a large segment of European citizens about the future of European identity. European capitals, overwhelmed by migrants of all kinds, whether legal or illegal, seem unable so far to handle this issue practically, effectively, and logically. There is a total failure in managing the influx of illegal migrants and an even greater failure in dealing with the large numbers of illegal migrants who have successfully reached European lands. The most important failure, however, remains in integration policies, hence the failure to contain a large number of migrants who have legally become an integral part of the European society.

Today, there is a worrying and significant resignation within European circles and traditional parties regarding this reality. What is more alarming is the strange denial of the core issue of immigration. The problem of immigration today is not a one-dimensional, ordinary, and marginal problem but a highly complex and existential three-dimensional issue. Therefore, its resolution must be realistic, courageous, far from half-measures, and most importantly, intelligently address all aspects of this phenomenon.

Europe must first and foremost solve the problem of the massive influx of migrants through courageous and responsible steps, primarily by opening European borders to those who wish to work, especially since its market desperately needs labor. Secondly, European institutions must solve the problem of migrants present illegally by taking bold steps to regularize their status and making radical changes to the social benefits system for non-Europeans and the citizenship acquisition law. Finally, European governments must tirelessly work to integrate their new citizens into their societies and try to imbue them with their identity, which is, in my opinion, the most difficult and delicate step.

Franco-Lebanese writer and novelist Amin Maalouf says in his book “Deadly Identities” that “identity is not given once and for all, it is built and transformed throughout life,” and this is exactly what Europe needs today. It is illogical for European countries to continue allowing millions of migrants to obtain their nationality without also acquiring their identity. What future do European countries have with a large proportion of their citizens not wanting their identity? Today, Europe desperately needs true citizens who belong to it, believe in its values, appreciate its history, and are proud of its identity, and it certainly does not need people who only want to obtain its nationality.

Let’s be frank, this is the European reality today, and this is what a large segment of Europeans thinks. Most importantly, this is what will determine the choices of millions of voters at the polls in the coming days. The chaos of multiple immigration problems, seemingly out of control, has dramatically fueled the fears and concerns of millions of European citizens about their future and identity. Some even begin to wonder what Europe will look like in thirty years if things continue as they are. What European identity in 2054?

It is certain that Europe’s features will be completely different from what we know today if current immigration policies continue. In thirty years, two new generations of migrants will have integrated into Europe, one generation entering currently and another born here. It is expected that the percentage of citizens who are migrants and children of migrants will exceed 25% in major European countries. The increase in the number of migrants without serious policies, particularly regarding integration and inclusion, means more problems and complexity, and a greater cultural and identity divide. Imagine then what Europe will look like!

Today, immigration and identity are the main themes of the 2024 elections, with many electoral promises in this regard. Will the winning political parties in these elections be able to keep their promises and adopt new approaches to solve the scourge of immigration in Europe and preserve the historic European identity? Or will the situation remain unchanged, the same mistakes repeated, and voters return to the polls in the next thirty years searching for a solution to the immigration issue and defending their lost identity?