31 August 2012
Europeans are “too different to get along”. Regardless of whether you agree or not, and regardless of whether you believe it to be pessimistic, realistic, discouraging or enlightening, it is clear that the theme of one of the most shared articles of this summer is not a matter of indifference.
In his text, Richard Swartz compares Europe to “an extremely fragile honeycomb, composed of cultural, historical and mental idiosyncrasies” – a metaphor that is an apt reminder of a point made by German writer Martin Walser, in an article published this week, that “the 'right' Europe is a community of learning based on self-determination and on work done voluntarily.”
In other words, notwithstanding their cultural and social differences, and their various opinions about the future of the EU, debate and the free exchange of different points of view will continue to be vital safeguards for a society of 500 millions EU citizens.
In countries like Hungary, Romania and Greece, and wherever populist and extremist parties are making progress in the polls, the European press continues to document what appears to be a growing weakness of democracy in Europe – although it could be a phenomenon brought on by weariness with the crisis and a popular disenchantment with the politics in individual member states and “in Brussels”.
In any case, the bid to find solutions to the multi-faceted crisis in Europe cannot be confined to high-level meetings that are conducted in secret. The issues will have to be understood and debated by ordinary Europeans, and it is the responsibility of politicians and the media to ensure that this is the case. It is also the logic behind Presseurop’s daily selection of stories, analysis and comment from the European press.
More and more of you are commenting on these articles, while more still are responding to other readers' comments. We have gradually developed a number of tools to enable you to become even more involved in the debate: tools that allow you to read all the comments related to an article, regardless of the language in which they are written, post comments without Presseurop moderation (for the faithful who follow good conduct rules), and to cite another comment or to be notified when a reader replies to you.
Today, in the spirit of our multilingual site, we are offering you a new tool: the ability to instantly translate comments posted in other languages.
After reading articles from across Europe in your own language, you can take part in the conversation between Presseurop readers, regardless of the language in which it is conducted.
At a time when the European press is going back to work after the summer break, you are more than ever encouraged to make your opinions heard.