A common identity – “The Emperor´s New Clothes”

in Debate, News

Cutting through 20 years of discussions of constructing a common identity to build a macro-region in the Baltic Sea Region the honorable Prof. Dr. Bernd Henningsen, Humboldt University, Berlin, in an essay, has concluded: There is no common identity:

“Just as in the “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, Baltic Sea identity is paraded through the streets under a protective cover – it will take quite some time to ascertain that there is in fact nothing there… Ethnicity, history, language, religions, cultures, and ways of life differ so greatly along the coastline that it is impossible to speak of regional homogeneity, let alone a common mindset.”

Bernd Henningsen advocates for not using the word identity as a brand strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Instead he finds it more honest to use the term we-feeling to go hand in hand with more substantial means of advertising the region (nature, landscape, history and culture) He strongly supports the EU policy of regionalization because he finds it effective and transparent – and because it leads to more of the type of decentralized government that operates close to its people:

“The strong sense of solidarity among people in the region is extremely helpful for achieving this efficiency:‘identity’ is not the right name, but perhaps it could be called a we-feeling”.

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