"Modern civilization has taken as its specific foundation the principle of liberty which says (…) that every man must be an autonomous life centre," wrote Altiero Spinelli in The Ventotene Manifesto.
When the founding fathers established the fundamental pillars of what is to be the European Union, after experiencing the atrocities of totalitarianism and lack of freedom, they did not anticipate what the outcome would be; they just had a dream of a Europe with no borders and boundaries, to eliminate the possibility of populism and ignorance spreading within the population.
Despite the several challenges the EU is currently facing, leaving it at the risk of regression, there is an element of hope: the Erasmus generation, shaped by great young citizens whom share life experiences, consciousness and dreams, which form the base for a future grounded Europe.
If we aim to improve European democracy, we have to focus on citizens: education is the pillar of an enlightened population, who create democratic societies.
If we truly believe in a better Europe, we have to raise awareness on the available mechanisms; people need to know about the instruments of participation such as the European Citizens Initiative, in order to influence the institutions and, gradually achieve more change. "The road to pursue is neither easy nor certain. But it must be followed and it will be".