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Europe’s true stories 1 29th January 2007

Timothy Garton Ash (February) is surely right when he argues for a European identity built on a narrative of what has been achieved in the EU over 50 years, and his combination of this story with a critique of shortcomings is bracingly honest. But as he admits, six abstract nouns—freedom, peace and so on—will hardly catalyse identity or command a deeper loyalty. Clearly, there are shared or overlapping cultural identities in some areas, such as literature and architecture. Why can’t the continuities from Plato, Dante and TS Eliot be stressed, or the commonalities…

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