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Not your grandparents' Europe

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The older my grandfather gets, the more he slips into his memories. Sitting on his sofa, he conjures up a Europe that no longer exists but still defines him to this day.

He's seen a lot since his birth in a Castilian village 92 years ago: a bloody civil war, 36 years of dictatorship, a transition to democracy that was anything but given, and Spain's entry into the EU's predecessor, the European Community.

Hearing him talk about other Europeans reminds me just how far Europe has come. For him, Italians are "bad people" that Mussolini sent to Spain to fight for Franco. And Germany is a "warrior nation," albeit one with "smart engineers," that lent its technical military might to Spain's dictatorship.

These unshakable qualifications can be mind boggling for me, a Spanish-American living in Germany with a French partner, to hear. Yet that is the Europe he experienced — and I am glad that Europe today is no longer the one that left its lasting influence on him.

Unequal election system

But with potentially fate-changing European Parliamentary elections coming up, I am asking myself what Europe needs to do to become the place I want for my grandchildren, who will call multiple corners of the continent........

© Deutsche Welle