There is something I need to confess.
I am a romantic about the European Union.
I am aware that it is problematic in many ways, especially when defining itself against the background of Non-Europeans. Yet, I think I can give many reasons why it is politically a good idea and obviously, it benefits me personally in allowing me to live here in Vienna without many complications. But that is not why I believe in it and not why I am deeply sad about the UK’s Brexit vote. The reason why I believe in it is a different one.
I grew up in a Sunday walk’s distance to a EU “domestic border”. When I was little, many Sunday walks brought me to this grey little stone which represented the borderline. It was standing there, in the green grass, and I liked to stand on it, run around it;I liked to stand in two countries at the same time – one foot in each. It seemed magical to me that something that sounded so political, so important, so untouchable, boiled down to something so harmless. I felt clever and comforted at the same time when I first understood what an absurdly unreal thing a border is.
The EU, to me, has always been about showing us this. Maybe it’s not about that. The official narrative is that its foundation was about keeping peace through economic interdependence. Some say it’s only about economy. To me, it will always be about showing us that most of the things hat divide us are just imaginary lines.