9 May 2020
Thirteen people from Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece (now living in Italy), Portugal, Romania (now living in France), Turkey, Uganda (now living in UK) and Wales and England joined us for our enjoyable discussion on the theme.
The four freedoms, especially of people and the Erasmus Programme, were highlighted, as was human rights, the rule of law and a free press. The EU was seen as a noble and necessary project but a challenging one.
In a global world where geo-political and economic power and intellectual leadership is slipping away from European countries there was a need to come together. But no-one was naive. Solidarity has been challenged by the financial crisis of a decade ago, the migration crisis and now Covid-19.
As was stressed it is not an either or issue. You can feel both European AND attached to the country you were born in. Of course, the EU is not Europe. Europe can be defined in many different way - for example as a geographic or cultural entity. And by relating to European identity does not preclude turning away from global issues and people in countries outside Europe.
In FAN we miss our actual meetings but Virtual FAN also offers us this wonderful opportunity to connect with people across the world and to put into practice our mission: to promote religious and racial harmony by developing and strengthening good relations between individuals of all beliefs, races and cultures thus fostering a spirit of kinship, mutual understanding and respect among the peoples of the world.
- with Ian Thomson.