To be able to conceptualize a European identity it must first be known who the 'Europeans' are. Who they are however, is highly contested. The proposition is to distinguish between core Europeans and peripheral Europeans. This leaves the question of whether these Europeans feel some commonness. These point to a second level of collective identity, the aspect of identifying oneself with a collective identity and of being identified by others with a collective identity. A framework for grasping the variation in these two identification processes is developed in this text by introducing the concept of collective identity and the related concept of collective memory. Finally, the author discusses some mechanisms of collective identity construction in the European case. The main proposition, which results from this discussion, is the more complex societies are - and the society emerging within the EU is certainly much more complex than the national societies it is composed of - the more a collective identity that compensates for the lack of direct relationships among people is needed. This proposition is linked with the corollary assumption that while the illusion of being a social body underlies the construction of national identities, it cannot be reproduced on the European level. Instead, the author proposes that the main mechanism for generating a collective sense of identity in a complex society such as the European one, lies in the mode of remembering among the people of this society.