Europe is a melting pot of people and cultures.
This diversity does not only refer to the mobility of citizens from the 28 Member states within the European Union (EU), but also to migrants from all corners of the world who have settled and started a new life in the old continent, the New Europeans.
Thanks to their dual cultural and linguistic background, New Europeans have long contributed to the economic, cultural and social development of European cities. Although there is still much work to be done to facilitate their participation as EU citizens, they are key to building the Europe of the future, that is, a Europe that draws its strength from the diversity of its citizens.
New European entrepreneurs, for example, are a direct source of job creation and thanks to their connections with their country of origin, they facilitate international trade thus fostering economic growth.
But New Europeans are not just key economic players. They also play an important role in the building of open and cohesive cities.
While still being strongly connected to their country of origin, New Europeans envision their future and the future of their children in Europe. Their feelings of attachment and belonging to another city or country aside from their place of residence does not prevent them from feeling at home in Europe. But it gives them a more objective outlook on national identity than “native” Europeans.
In times of globalisation, these qualities of connectedness and openness are a secret formula much needed by local, national and European authorities if they want to overcome urban mobility challenges and design smart and sustainable cities.
New Europeans are the future of European societies: they boost economic growth through entrepreneurship and innovation, and at the same time, they uphold the credibility of a social and cohesive Europe.
They are the best embodiment of what the EU is all about: diversity and mobility.