EUROPINION (Foto: © TEA - Fotolia.com)

Think European!
Pro European public opinion!

Those of us who live in a modern European democracy have a dual identity. As well as our individual core identity we have another relating to our involvement in society – in the past national, now European.

Individual identity: As private individuals we are concerned with personal development, what the women’s movement termed ‘self-actualisation’, material well-being, family. This comprises the values we consider important in our relations with others and pass on to our children, as well as our religious convictions.

Public identity: As citizens our concern is our immediate environment, the society we live in. We shape public opinion by exercising our right to vote and to be elected. In the first instance we elect for public office members of society we consider to be worthy representatives of our views, in the second we are passionate campaigners for political office to regulate public affairs as we see it. In sum, we participate in public discourse. We publish books, write letters to editors, speak out in seminars, round tables, debating clubs, and civic action groups. We take a stand and criticise the procedures of committees and institutions as well as the work and conduct of public figures.

We are a constituent part of public opinion. What is the basis of our actions? What guidelines do we follow? Where do we obtain our information? – Of course we make use of the media.
Publicised opinion: Without a wide range of information which we can evaluate and analyse, we cannot arrive at a considered opinion, an essential yardstick of our value standards.

National media have a culturally biased view of events and are thus an unsuitable basis for forming European public opinion. We Europeans have come to take open borders and a common currency for granted. Our efforts in the common public domain in which we inform ourselves so that we are in a position to exercise our European civic duties, are still work in progress.