Countries trade with other member states and invest across borders, while Europeans live, study and work abroad. This means that what happens in one country will affect the others. The crisis over the last few years showed the impact a few financially troubled countries can have on the rest of the EU.
I walked around to see how children in Homs are living. In a convent that works with children, situated at the end of a line of fully standing buildings and right before the destruction and rubble begins, I was amazed to find children reading books, listening to teachers, drawing pictures and playing games. The drawings on the walls spoke of smiling faces, waving hands, laughter and messages about the need to forgive. A total contrast to the rubble outside that represents so many battered lives.
It's no wonder then that the European Parliament has been so keen to defend the Erasmus programme. It significantly boosts career prospects and improves engagement in the European project.
With full tanks, all systems checked and automatic launch sequence ignited, the European Parliament is ready for lift-off. MEPs achieved much in the first part of 2012 that will make a noticeable difference to the everyday life of ordinary citizens, such as lower roaming charges and killing off the controversial anti-counterfeiting agreement. However, there is much to be done in the months to come.
A matter of form, part of the procedure, a formality - the European Parliament's scrutiny of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) wasn't expected to bring any surprises. After all, it had already been negotiated by major industrialised countries around the world, including the US and had received the European Commission's blessing and the backing of EU member states.
The G8 summit last weekend called for Greece to remain in the eurozone, a goal that seems harder to achieve than ever as the Greeks are set to return to the polls a second time after a first inconclusive election in which anti-establishment parties did well and while politicians from colder shores continue to insist that any support will depend on the country's ability to stick with austerity measures.