People may assumed that Europeans indeed formed a number of their common beliefs , concepts, values, cultural traditions in history. Medieval Europe (mainly Western Europe) has the same cultural identity (Germanic and Greek-Roman civilizations and Christian faith). After hundreds of thousands of years of infiltration and stigma, some common traditions, creeds, customs, values and ways of thinking are formed, which people may believed as a “ European identity.” While, considering that “identity” is actually the common characteristic among people and the unification of consciousness of such commonality, we should point out that the “European identity” in the Middle Ages refers more to “common characteristics” rather than the subjective “sense of identity.” The common feature or identity of Christian-based traditions, customs and values does not mean “European identity.” “European consciousness” or “ideas” mainly exist in the minds of philosophers and thinkers or in study. The so-called ” Europe identity” of Christian is essentially an “elite culture. Thus I do believe that there is no European identity.
There is already a powerful trend of divide in medieval Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the biggest feature of the formation of many countries in Europe is dispersion. The Christianity did not become a universal European faith until the 10th and 11th centuries. Christianity covers all of Europe, but Latin is the language of the court and the church. Most of the inhabitants are illiterate and speak only dialects. The low level of economy, the backward transportation and communication make it difficult to integrate the residents on a vast territory. The feudal system legitimized and decentralized this decentralized status and failed to form a truly common “European” economic, political and economic Social life. Christianity-based culture and identity is an elite culture and it is impossible to return to Christianity. Modern Europe needs to find a secular alternative of a common system of belief and value that unites the Europe, find a common memory and symbol of “pan-European”, myths and traditions to arouse the loyalty of “Europe” as they have to the nation-state.
In National Identity and the idea of European Unity, Smith indicated that “Europe is deficient both as idea and as process.” There is no emotional sustenance and historical depth for the notion of Europe. Thus there is a distinctive advantage the national identification has over European identification. According to the Eurobarometer for June 1992, 51% of the respondents say it never happens to them to feel not only their “national identity” but a “European identity”(Commission 1992c: 5). Wistricht(1987）expressed that the growth of nationalism and establishment of independent nation-states make people fail to make people identify with Europe. In the course of the formation of European nation states, the policies and measures of governments of various countries have played an important role in “building” national identity. There is a lack of public awareness of EC institution also contributes the deficiency of European identity, according to Shore. The European Parliament, the supranational agency considered to have the most “European” significance, did not receive the “democratic legitimacy” of the parliaments in various countries and the public did not care much about its activities. The public discussion of the “European problems” is limited in most countries. Residents’ political concerns are not “European” but elsewhere, there is no “European public opinion” or “European political process.” ” Europeans know more about the American Civil War, how the West was won or the current dramas of American society than they do about their own history, society and culture’ is symptomatic of a profound ‘European cultural identity crisis” reported by e Baget-Bozzo Committee s’ (Baget-Bozzo 1986: 22).
In conclusion, Christianity-based culture and identity is an elite culture and it is impossible to return to Christianity. The growth of nationalism and establishment of independent nation-states make people fail to make people identify with Europe and there is no emotional sustenance and historical depth for the notion of Europe.
Baget-Bozzo, G. 1986. Report on the information policy of the European Community, Doc A-11. Luxembourg: Office of Official Publications of the European Community.
Shore, Cris 1993: Inventing the People’s Europe: Critical Approaches to European Community Cultural Policy. Man, New Series 779-800.
Wistricht, E. 1989. After 1992: the United States of Europe. London, New York: Routledge.