Is There a European Identity, Is there a Europe?

PRAGUE - Do Europe's peoples truly regard themselves as ‘Europeans', or is this a fiction which attempts to transform geography into a ‘state of mind'. This question is often posed in connection with debates concerning the amount of sovereignty that nation-states can, or should, transfer to the European Union. Many say that if national affiliation is pushed into the background too fast in favor of an unfamiliar, perhaps chimerical, concept of European affiliation, it might not end well.

When I ask myself: ‘To what extent do I feel European, and what links me with Europe?", my first thought is a mild astonishment at the fact that it is only now that I ponder this question. Why didn't I think of it long ago, in those times when I began to discover the world? Was it because I regarded my belonging to Europe as a surface matter of little significance? Or did I take my European linkage for granted?