At være europæer

I forbindelse med mit arbejde på Grønlands Universitet har jeg kunnet notere mig, at man på de britiske øer har fundet en vis interesse for Grønland i forbindelse med den forestående afstemning om fortsat medlemskab af EU. I denne forbindelse blev jeg bedt om at skrive en såkaldt “opinion piece” til det britiske tidsskrift History and Policy om den grønlandske beslutning om at melde sig ud af det daværende EF i 1982, og hvilke lektier briterne kunne drage deraf. Arbejdet med og konklusionerne i denne artikel fik mig til at tænke på et indlæg, jeg i sommeren 2012 fik bragt i det konservative tidsskrift Salisbury Review, hvori jeg forsøgte at gøre mig nogle tanker om, hvad det vil sige at være europæer, og hvorvidt jeg selv var det. Dette indlæg vil fremdrage uddrag af begge disse artikler.

Det giver sig selv, at dette ikke alene er et spørgsmål om geografi. Som Edmund Burke så viseligt udtrykte det, så vil man “aldrig sætte en ære i at høre hjemme i kvadrat nr. 71”. Dette tilhørsforhold er et spørgsmål om følelser, og jeg nærer personligt varme følelser for det europæiske kontinent, og jeg er også gennem både familie og kultur knyttet til det:

“I was born and raised in a country closely linked to the continent. One of my great grandmothers was a Swede, one of my great grandfathers a German. On my bookshelf, Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard are joined by Plato, Augustine, Burke, Tocqueville, Goethe and Dostoyevsky. I was born and raised not only in Denmark, but in Europe – and I love it. During my youth and university years, I have been all over Europe in order to listen and learn, to meet new friends, to bond and to network.”

Men følelser er ikke nok:

“Am I a European? In this question lies not only a fascination for European culture and history, but the question of nationality, of patriotism. But what is nationality? Nationality transcends political squabbles and links a person to history, to a territory, to a culture, but not to answers. In one’s nationality, one finds a starting point, a base from which to confront life. This makes it easier, but not easy. One’s nationality does not deliver certainty in every aspect of life, but it makes you certain about where to start and where to find rest. Patriotism is the will to keep this up, to want to secure this starting point and resting place and for later generations as well. Do I find this in Europe?”

Det vil formodentlig chokere meget få, at mit svar i Salisbury Review blev et nej. Jeg er ikke europæer. I ungdommelige antiautoritære toner lød det således:

“If bureaucrats and politicians in their manic fight for rationalism and simplicity think they can deprive me of [the], perhaps irrational, preference for my homeland, if they think that they can make me feel as connected to German or French as my mother tongue, if they think that my culture is just mine out of lack of something better and more rational, their education has clouded rather than broadened their minds, and their careers, their entire contribution to the Union, is based on a serious misunderstanding of what Europe is.”

I bund og grund er min pointe, at det væsentlige må være, om der findes et europæisk “vi”. Et sådant “vi” kan ikke rationaliseres frem, men eksisterer i den enhed, man føler sig som en del af. Dette har også politiske implikationer, og det var dette, der blev omdrejningspunktet for indlægget i History and Policy.

Der er formodentlig lige så lidt brite i en grønlænder, som der er inuit i en englænder, men alligevel kan der drages nogle paralleller. I Grønland blev tilknytningen til EF knyttet tæt til forholdet til Danmark. Dette forhold var forud for indførelsen af Hjemmestyret i 1979 blevet skitseret således af landsrådsformand Lars Chemnitz:

“Selv om vi forudsætter, at Danmark havde løst sin opgave i Grønland helt perfekt, ville Danmark have fået en lignende kritik som i dag, alene fordi vi i Grønland ikke selv traf beslutningerne.”

Lars Chemnitz var en ivrig forkæmper for rigsfællesskabet og gik ved afstemningen ind for fortsat grønlandsk medlemskab af EF, men udtalelsen siger noget generelt om forholdet til de beslutninger, der træffes i overnational sammenhæng – i sammenhænge, der omfatter mere end et “vi”. Dette er et forhold, som dele af befolkningen i Storbritannien har stået konfronteret med flere gange, og som nu hele befolkningen skal tage stilling til:

“In recent years the United Kingdom has, on several occasions, seriously faced the question of who ‘we’ are. In 2015, the Scottish were largely divided on the question of whether or not to remain part of the ‘we’ of the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland, the centenary anniversary of the Easter Rising has been a reminder of the diverse and divisive interpretations of history within the region. And now, Britons across the country will ask themselves: Can they see themselves as part of the “we” that is the EU? This can be viewed as an opportunity to reform the EU. In this regard, the quest is to find out what the connection to the EU should be in order to be compatible with the present feelings of the British between UK and the EC.

But it can also have remarkably little to do with reform, for if the problem is a voter having a fundamental problem with identifying himself as belonging to the unity that is the EU, it does not matter. Then, the criticism will continue – not as a criticism of the idea of the EU  providing solutions to British problems, but as a criticism of the solutions not being “British”.”

Hvem er “vi”?