No, this isn't a thread about the EU, it about the continent, and I think its important to make that distinction. I suppose as an island nation we've always, like Britain, felt a sense of distinction from our neighbours on the Mainland. Perhaps its simply because we don't share our languages with any on the mainland or that we have generally looked to our diaspora on other continents, particularly North America, for cultural links - the phrase "closer to Boston than Berlin" springs to mind.
I think in spite of increasing dissatisfaction with the EU, we should attempt to forge a sense of Europeanness within this continent, and indeed within Ireland itself. This sense of continental communality is not new, pan-Africanism and pan-South Americanism (or Latin America in some cases) are both both becoming increasingly common in their respective continents, both politically and culturally.
But that's only my opinion. I can understand how many would turn away from the idea of a European identity given the state the continent is in at this moment in time. But I do think that we should try and distinguish between the political aspect of Europe and the cultural aspect of it, the fact that we belong to a continent with huge diversity and which, despite its bloody, brutal treatment of peoples in other parts of the world, is a cultural powerhouse that has shaped the world we live in today.
Apologies if this post sounds too flowery, but I do think that we need to make an effort to emphasise Europe and our place within it. So, do you see yourself as a European and how do you regard Europe in general?