1. Warm up: It's a Good Day

Norma Deloris Egstrom (1920 2002), was known professionally as Peggy Lee. She was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning six decades. Lee created a sophisticated persona, writing music for films, acting, and recording conceptual record albums combining poetry and music. 

Here is one of her early hits "It's a Good Day" from 1947. Listen and fill in the blanks:

When I ......... up this morning

I was feeling all wrong

Couldn't find any ............... for a happy song

Then I had some ............ and I ......... my face

And my ............ world fell into ..........

Yes, it's a good day for singin' a song
And it's a good day for movin' a..........
Yes, it's a good day, how could ............ be wrong
A good day from mornin' ...... night

And it's a good day for .............  your shoes
And it's a good day for losin' the ......... 
Everything to ......... and nothin' to lose
'Cause it's a good day from mornin' till night

 

I said to the ......... , "Good mornin', .......
Rise and ........ , today
You know you've gotta get ......... if you're gonna make a .............
And you've got the .......... of way"

'Cause it's a good day for ...........  your bills
And it's a good day for curin' your ....... 
So take a deep breath and throw away your ....... 
'Cause it's a good day from mornin' ........ night

 

Good mornin', sun, good mornin', sun
Rise and shine, today
You know you've gotta get goin' if…

2. Churchill and Europe 

Winston Churchill, a former army officer, war reporter, and British Prime Minister (1940-45 and 1951-55), was one of the first to call for the creation of a ‘United States of Europe’. Following the Second World War, he was convinced that only a united Europe could guarantee peace. His aim was to eliminate the European ills of nationalism and war-mongering once and for all. He formulated his conclusions drawn from the lessons of history in his famous ‘Speech to the academic youth’ held at the University of Zurich in 1946. Listen to excerpts of the speech.

1. How does Winston Churchill describe Europe?

2. What does he say about the past and the future of Europe? 

3. What does Winston Churchill say must be the first step in unification of Europe?  

What do you think about Winston Churchill's speech?  Is it inspiring? Boring? Surprising? 

Winston Churchil's Speech in Zurich, 194Artist Name
00:00 / 03:46

3. Brief History of EU 

Watch the short video from 2014 about the history of the EU and its milestones. Note down answers to the following questions. 

1. What was founded in 1951? By which 6 countries? 

2. What happened in 1957? 

3. When did the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland join the EEC?

4. What did the Maastricht Treaty change?

5. How many countries introduced the euro in 2002?

6. How many countries joined the EU in 2004? Can you name them? (It is not mentioned in the video.)

7. Not in the video: How many  member countries are there in the EU now? When did Britain exit?

4. How the European Union Works

The way the EU works and decides is notoriously complex and according to some people too bureaucratic and costly. Perhaps this video produced primarily for non-Europeans by the CNBC international can help. Please watch and prepare a short commentary no shorter than  40 and no longer than 60 seconds. You may (or may not) use the following questions to help you formulate your commentary.   

  • Did the video help you understand how the EU works? 

  • Is to simplistic or, on the contrary, trying to say too many things in too short a time?  

  • Are there some mistakes/errors in the video? 

  • Is it perhaps boring because you are not interested in the EU?

5. Eurobarometer Summer 2020

Download the Eurobarometer below. Research the document and write a brief report concentrating on the following findings:      

1. In which countries do most people tend to trust the European Union? 

2. In which countries do most people  tend not to trust the European Union?

3. Which is the country with the highest percentage  of people who tend to trust the EU?

4. Which is the country with the lowest percentage  of people who tend to trust the EU?

5. What is the overall image of the European Union in its member states? What is the trend? Is it declining or is it rising?

6. What is the support for the euro in the Czech Republic?

7. What is the main concern of the Europeans?

Additional assignment: Which Eurobarometer facts do you personally find most surprising? What do you find most interesting? Why?

Eurobarometer, Summer 2020 

6. What next for Europe?

The document called "White Paper" was presented by the European Commission on 1 March 2017. It sets out possible paths for the future of Europe. It offers five scenarios for the Union's evolution by 2025, depending on the choices we will make.

Task: Watch the video and note down the 5 scenarios the White Paper presents. Explain which of them you consider most  desirable for the future of Europe and why. Speak for no less than 40 and no more than 60 seconds.

White Paper on the Future of Europe, published in 2017

7. Topic for Essay: Europe and I

Is the European Union important for you? If yes, WHY. If NOT, why not?

I grew up in a divided Europe, where it was very difficult if not impossible to travel across many borders. When I was a teenager, I was explained again and again that free market and private ownership of businesses was inherently bad and led to inefficiencies and unjust exploitation of most people by a select group of other people. I was even trained as a soldier to be ready to fight against other Europeans in the countries that joined NATO. 

Now I am used to the idea of traveling from Helsinky in Finland to Lisbon in Portugal without being even stopped on the border. I teach students from various European countries in Pardubice, there are many more of them at other Czech Universities and colleges. People in Europe have never in history voluntarily traveled more, be it for work or leisure. We worry about the real estate market, budget deficits, and losing competitive advantage vis-a-vis China, India, and other fast-growing global powerhouses. But my generation still enjoys the highest standard of living in history. 

Yes, there are threats of terrorism, uncontrolled immigration, my children now worry about climate change. And, of course, we have this COVID-19 situation. The EU economy is in recession, its share of the world GDP keeps declining. But people are not fleeing from Europe, on the contrary, many of those who live outside the European Union want to come in. 

What makes me personally more worried than external threats (immigration, climate change) is dysfunctional, underperforming Europe, not just in economic terms, but in a broader political, cultural, and social context. There is no doubt in my mind, that the European Union with all its bureaucratic burden, lengthy political debates, expensive institutions, is still the main agent of and framework for cooperation. Without it, our diverse continent  would be much more divided, weaker. 

Whether I like it or not, I live in Europe, I am Czech as well as European. Therefore, I think the European Union and its future are important for the future of myself and my children, too.

Additional Food for Thought

Poland and the European Union