Europe, the continent I was born and the continent I lived during my entire life. It is also the continent, which changed politically very much during the years I can remember – and even before. The year I was born was only five years after the end of WWII. My parents had already two boys and the whole family still suffered of hardship. My family lived in an abandoned barrack and had two rooms, one big and a small one. They also had their own kitchen, but no bathroom. The WC was at the end of the floor on every floor – there were two of them.
The very start of the EU (European Union) was in 1950 – the year I was born. The European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. The six founding countries were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
25th March 1957 the Treaty of Rome was signed, creating the European Economic Community (EEC) and the EURATOM treaty. The idea was for people, goods and services to move freely across borders and for peace. That also is the year I started at school and we were moving into our own town house.
8th April 1965 the Brussel Treaty was signed. It was about to streamline the European institutions. There were three treaties now: EEC, Euratom, ECSC. This year I have got through my religious confirmation (as a protestant).
The single European Act was signed on two different occasions: 17th February 1986 (Luxembourg) / 28th February 1986 (The Hague) and was meant to reform the institutions in preparation for Portugal and Spain’s membership and speed up decision-making in preparation for the single market. That year my third child, also a baby boy, was born.
7th February 1992 the Treaty on European Union – Maastricht Treaty was signed and was about to prepare for European Monetary Union and introduce elements of a political union (citizenship, common foreign and internal affairs policy). That was the year I became divorced for the third time. Now I have four children (born 1979. 1984, 1986 and 1989) and we are living at the countryside in an “own” house with a garden, but I do not have a job I could feed us with.
2nd October 1997 the Amsterdam Treaty was signed and I divorced from my fourth husband, who was from Kosovo and came as a refugee. It is my first separation a husband of mine initiated. The purpose of the treaty was to reform the EU institutions in preparation for the arrival of future member countries.
26th February 2001 was the date of the signing of the Treaty of Nice. It was signed to reform the institutions so that the EU could function efficiently after reaching 25 member countries. I am studying again, working as a cashier, caring about and educating my children as well as making the household and all related work. I hope I will get a better job after my studies to give my children a better life and have the possibility to travel together.
13th December 2007 the Treaty of Lisbon was signed with the purpose to make the EU more democratic, more efficient and better able to address global problems, such as climate change, with one voice. In November this year I started working on Ireland after I have been minimal employed for years. My youngest child is now of age, though all should went well.
Another side of the European Union is, when all the countries joined:
- 1950 Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – this year I was born
- 1973 (Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom) – this year I finished my studies in public management
- 1981 (Greece) – this year I still was a single mother with my eldest boy
- 1986 (Spain, Portugal) – this year my youngest son was born
- 1995 (Austria, Finland, Sweden) – finally I became an EU member, too. When I emigrated to Sweden in 1978 it was still complicated to get residence and a Swedish citizenship, which I have got 1983 (even my son did get it at this stage)
- 2004 (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) – I tried to run my own company, but worked as an extra teacher as well
- 2007 (Bulgaria, Romania) – this year I started working in Dublin, Ireland
- 2013 (Croatia) – I was unemployed in Germany after my contract run out in 2012, but I was engaged in politics by the Pirate Party in Hamburg.
That is only a short background to think about, when I tell about my travels in Europe.
I travelled the following European countries so far:
- Germany 1955 …
- Switzerland (Basel to Lake Lucerne) 1966
- Great Britain (England) 1969
- Netherlands (Den Haag) 1975
- Italy (Syd Tyrol) 1977
- Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway 1978
- Sweden 1978 …
- Norway 1991
- Denmark (Legoland) 1994
- Denmark (Copenhagen – Tivoli) 1996
- Ireland 2007 …
- Great Britain – Northern Ireland 2008
- Great Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany 2009
- Italy (Rome) 2010
- Vatican City State 2010
- Austria 2013/2014
- Malta 2014
- Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia (Istria), Italy, Malta 2014
- Malta 2014 + 2015
- Hungary 2015
- Switzerland (Ticino), Italy (only Piemonte) 2014
- Spain and Portugal 2015
- Turkey (only Istanbul) 2015
- Austria, Germany 2015
- Germany. Portugal, Spain, Malta 2017
- and about my time at home in Sweden you can read by following the link as well