The following is my own, short, reflections on my experience at the March of Europe on saturday. If you would like to hear a far more in depth analysis on the potential downsides of the Pulse of Europe social bubble, I highly reccomend this excellent article in the Governance Post by a fellow student of mine Clara Stinhoff.
Today I joined thousands of other people in cities across Europe to demonstrate in favor of the European Union and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The message, repeated several times by the speakers throughout the demonstration, was one of optimism: "2016 was a s*** year, we must make 2017 a year of hope!" The atmosphere was positive and calming, and the speakers calls for unity as appealing as ever. In a time where far-right populists seem to hog the media limelight, demonstrations like this and the weekly Pulse of Europe in Berlin may be exactly what the EU needs. The reminder that globalization produces gains as well as the losses that the populists focus on. Yet, the rhetoric of multicultural unity occasionally came across as tone deaf to those with socioeconomic disadvantages -- Pulse of Europe's demonstrations fit clearly within the bubble of the urban European elite. Rather than simply displaying the benefits that these demonstrators have been able to take advantage of -- whether that is restriction-free travel across the union or studying in another country -- a better way to strengthen the EU's appeal may be to take steps to make these benefits more widely accessible to less privileged citizens, those who have born the brunt of globalization's costs.