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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 14:40 GMT
Europeans on Europe
The European Parliament in Strasbourg
Europeans expect tough decisions to be made at Nice
As European heads of states prepare for a summit to plot the future direction of the EU, citizens in and around the community have been expressing their views on the way it should go. Speaking to the BBC's Europe Today programme they voiced a diverse range of opinions.

Daniel Gueguen is a French writer based in Brussels. He argues that the danger ahead for the EU is that nobody is reflecting on the goals of the union.

"What do we want to make? Do we want a federal Europe, or a Europe between nations, or do we want to make a big market and a free trade area... nobody knows.

"As far as the union is concerned, the citizen has been lost. There is a huge, fantastic gap between Brussels and the citizen.

As far as the union is concerned, the citizen has been lost. There is a huge, fantastic gap between Brussels and the citizen
Daniel Gueguen, French real 28k

"This is dramatic because it is impossible to build an EU without or against the citizen.

"Everything is so complex, regulation, business and economy. Yes, but what about the people? I think it is absolutely urgent that we bring people on board."

The Czech Republic is one of more than a dozens states waiting for entry into the EU.

Daniella Lazarova is an editor at Czech Radio in Prague. She sees a Europe, once divided buy the Iron Curtain, still divided.

"I was born in 1961 and I grew up very much aware of the Iron Curtain and the Cold War. And even though the Iron Curtain has been lifted, the division to my mind has not been lost completely."

If the union prospers it will help us to beat nationalism, and racism and xenophobia
Daniella Lazarova, Czech real 28k

For Daniella, the states aspiring to join the EU must be ready for the challenges and pressures of the single market.

"What I really hope the EU will do is curb nationalism. A lot of this will depend on prosperity. If the union prospers it will help us to beat nationalism, and racism and xenophobia. If it doesn't things are going to be difficult.

"That is what I fear greatly and that is what makes me realise how important it is for the candidate states to be really prepared well for the demands of the EU market.

"If things go wrong and we drag down the EU states down with us then there is going to be a lot of finger pointing and looking round for the culprit."

Roland Freudenstein, a German, works for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in the Polish capital Warsaw. For him, belonging to the European Union is an emotional bond as well as a political or economic one.

Working for European integration is one of the most noble things I can imagine
Roland Freudenstein, German real 28k

"I think of my son. He has a German father, a Slovenia mother, he was born in Warsaw and he has a Hebrew name. So if he has any fatherland, at the moment it is Europe.

"I have a love for Europe in me, it is my home. At the same time I am a German, and I am a Rheinlander too."

Roland says that working for the European Commission for two years gave him an insight into the down sides of European integration, but it also made me see the light in "a very missionary kind of sense".

"Working for European integration is one of the most noble things I can imagine, and yet I can see the minuses in how it is run."

Mark Leonard works for the London-based Foreign Policy Centre. For him the EU is about co-operation on issues that members have in common, without submerging the diversity that members cherish so much.

"I think that the real challenge for European politicians is actually to capture the enthusiasm that people feel about Europe as a concept and to embody it in the institutions. One of the best kept secrets about the EU is that it has already done that in a number of ways.

It is not about trying to create a superstate, it is not about trying to force everybody into a one-size-fits-all model
Mark Leonard, British real 28k

"It is not about trying to create a superstate, it is not about trying to force everybody into a one-size-fits-all model. It's about having a set of structures which allows countries to co-operate together when they can't act on their own whilst preserving their political, economic and cultural identities."

Antonio Hens, a Spanish film producer based in Madrid, sees Europe primarily in terms of market. He says that the EU increases the size of his potential audience from 30 million, the population of Spain, to 300 million, roughly the population of Europe.

The EU, as a cultural association, also affects Antonio's work.

"There is a very interesting phenomenon, which is that some themes that were local become, not universal, but European.

There is a loss of Latin culture when we become European
Antonio Hens, Spanish real 28k

"For example a British bricklayer and his problems are understood here in Spain. It doesn't matter that the bricklayer is British because his problems are the same in common to all the rest of Europe."

As this European culture grows, Antonio argues, there is a cost to the traditionally strong cultural links between Spain and South America.

"There is a loss of Latin culture when we become European. We have to sell out culture, to America through Latin America. I am working in a Latin culture and it has nothing to do with Europe."


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