身份概念是在社会政治话语背景下，从心理学角度提出的概念。它指的是一个人最好将自己定义为一个由行为、信仰和态度形成的独立的个体的方式(Samovar ET AL.， 2010)。身份的形成受社会规范、文化价值观、生活方式、政治取向等因素的影响。通过使用身份的概念，个体将自己归类为特定的群体成员。这样的群体往往有相似的行为、信仰和态度。此外，它还用于根据行为、信仰和态度的差异来区分属于其他群体的人(Tchistiakova和Waechter, 2015)。因此，根据这一观点，欧洲人的身份可以被定义为一套价值观、信仰和规范，这些价值观、信仰和规范支持一个人作为欧洲人的自我认同。这并不妨碍个体从自我识别到其他身份。一个人可以同时拥有德国人、瑞典人或法国人的欧洲身份，前提是与各种身份相关的价值观、信仰和规范互不冲突(Waechter, 2015)。
The idea of identity is a concept taken from the psychology when referred in the background of social and political address. It refers to the way in which a person would preferably define themselves as a distinct and separate individual formed by the behaviour, beliefs and attitudes (Samovar ET AL., 2010). The identity formation is affected by various factors like social norms, cultural values, lifestyle and political orientations. By using the idea of identity individuals categorize themselves as a particular group member. Such group tends to share similar behaviours, beliefs and attitudes. Also it is used for separating the people who belong to other groups on the basis of differences in behaviours, beliefs and attitudes (Tchistiakova and Waechter, 2015). Thus as per this standpoint the European identity could be defined as a set of values, beliefs, and norms which supports the self-identification of a person as European. This does not bar the individual’s from identifying themselves to other identities. A person can own a European identity simultaneously with a national identity of being a German, Swedish or French, given that the values, beliefs, and norms related with the various identities does not conflict with each other (Waechter, 2015).
What determines European Identify
The idea of European identity depends on the discourse type in which it is deliberated. However the primary purpose is to generate unity among the Europeans. The determinants of the European identity also vary with the variation in the discourse type. For example, some of the determinants for the formation of European identity are associated with the political and economic structures. The presence of the EU institutions determines the European identity for the individuals.
Other determinant for the European identity is normative which proposes the relation of identity with the general ideas with respect to believes and values shared by every Europeans. These values and believes deter mine the commonality surpassing past political identities of individual countries or cultures and thus determine the single European identity. The values, believes, norms, behaviours and other such people related aspects are the strongest determinants of the European identity (Mols and Weber, 2012).
The idea of the European identity developed in 1973 in the Copenhagen summit. The meeting of the EC members was followed by the Declaration of European Identity which was originally restricted to economic and political identification as determinants of the
European identity (Peebles, 2011). However, over decades the evolving meaning of the European identity now accommodates mainly the cultural and the civic factors as its prime determinants. The cultural factors denote to the feeling that the people have with respect to the closeness in terms of common norms, values and believes with the people from other European nations in comparison with the people from non-European nations. The civic factors mention the grade of identification with respect to the political organizations which defines the rules, guidelines and rights affecting the common daily lives of the people. These are some of the fundamental determinants of the European identity. The person can also have a European identity on the basis of his awareness of the common culture and at the same time can decline the EU as a political organization determinant of the European identity. Thus the extent of European identity is affected by the lawfulness of the political element which claims to be an indicator of European identity or the evidence a person can get for the type of resemblances with the other Europeans. Hence the two fundamental determinants of the European identity are the civic or political and the cultural factors.