About Where is Europe?
Where is Europe is a project that aims to explore narratives of the European Identity. As the EU, as institution is being criticized so is Europe. Western European politicians are campaigning for their countries to leave Europe. Like it is possible for a country to saw itself from the continent. As the two dimensions, EU and Europe, have become fluent in their meaning in West-European public debate. Europe needs new narratives, which are stronger than politics or bureaucracy and does right to the European region, from West to East and North to South. Narratives that consists of its citizens stories, experiences and history. The colonist history, the violent history and also the history of brave citizens trying to make life better step by step.
The first areas of Europe that is highlighted are the Baltics, Central Europe, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. A journey through these states led to a series of stories, interviews and conversations with local entrepreneurs, artists, citizens and politicians in search for the meaning of Europe in Eastern-Europe. One question remains central in these areas: How can we overcome nationalism and foster European solidarity?
I'm Liza Saris, the founder of the Where is Europe project. As a teenager I have become amazed by Europe, its rich and violent history, stories and beautiful landscapes. With the start of the Eurocrisis, I decided to study European Studies in order to understand what exactly happened. In 2017 I graduated with the Master European Identity and Integration and specialized on European identity as a process of exclusion used as a tool by politicians.
During my internship at the cultural program of the Dutch presidency of the EU, I noticed that something strange was happening. The terms EU and Europe are used as substitutes for each other. I started to research this and noticed that in the western-European public spheres the difference between both has faded. I realized that Western-Europeans have a distant relationship with both the EU and Europe. The critics on the EU also have influenced the opinions of Europe.
I want people to see Europe through my eyes. As the beautiful and intriguing region that it is, in landscapes but also in stories. I want Western Europeans to appreciate the whole of Europe as a rich region of cross border influenced history and culture. On the other hand I want to experience how Central, Eastern and New Europeans are feeling about Europe and the EU, and see Europe through their eyes.