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Current Situation of the EU and its Problems
(NS II 1)

My overall gain from participating in the European Summer Academy was immense and every part was undeniably valuable. Yet if I had learned one thing, it would be the difficulty of communicating the benefits of the EU to its citizens. As one the lecturers discussed, the rise of nationalism and populism poses as a threat to European integration. Being Japanese and from a entirely different continent, I have always envied the ease in which EU citizens traveled, changed jobs, and imported and exported goods without internal tariffs. Yet many of my European associates and classmates seem to see the EU as a “Brusselo”, some sort of authoritarian monster eating up tax money and creating more problems than they are solving. “Screw the EU, Viva La France!”, a French friend of mine stated when I asked his opinion. As I type this very sentence, activists march on in Warsaw, protesting against an anti-EU government while my previous classmates (I graduated high school in Poland) shake their heads. “We don’t need the EU”, they tell me. “Who is supporting the EU? Some politicians and economists. We don’t trust them.” EU hostility feels oddly close to home, even if I reside in Tokyo. The youth and the layman have lost their faith in European Integration. At the program taught at the seminar house, I learned how these nationalistic trends are taken as a serious threat, and what the EU is attempting to do to combat them. In my personal opinion, education is key. Many young people lack the fundamental knowledge to understand the economic benefits, and thus this must be taught. I believe that once people see monetary benefits, they’ll hop on board.

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Group photo at European Stability Mechanism
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