What can a Western European coal and steel community and a Yugoslavian artist group have in common? If you already know the answer, it isn't worth it to read this. Otherwise it may be.
As we all know, the European Union was established as a real alliance by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. The Union is considered a logical consequence of the post-WWII coal and steel community. All 500 million inhabitants are "EU citizens", but this citizenship doesn't replace the national citizenship of one's homeland. However, the name of the Union is the uppermost text in most passports of the member states.
NSK (short for Neue Slowenische Kunst, in English New Slovenian Art) was founded as an art collective by its three forming groups in Yugoslavia in 1984. Since early 1990s NSK claims to constitute an independent micronation. In the founding artists' opinion this is a logical consequence of Yugoslavia's collapse. Today several thousand passport holders (most of whom aren't artists) are "NSK citizens", but this citizenship doesn't replace the national citizenship of one's homeland. However, people have crossed actual international borders with NSK passports.
The Treaty of Lisbon has been significantly reforming the European Union for a half year now. It has even been said that the old Union will vanish and a new, peculiar federation will take its place. After this both the EU and NSK shall be "countries without soil", for the Union consists of member states (btw, some law professionals even claim that the EU would technically still exist even if it lost every one of its members) and NSK is, according to its founders, located in time instead of three-dimensional space. Both of these two systems are dilating the old concept of a state. Furthermore, the idea that traditional countries should already lose their importance is strong in both NSK and the EU.
More similarities can be seen at the influence possibilities of a single citizen. In the EU, the only decision-making body whose members are directly elected by the people is the European Parliament, which hass less power than many other EU institutions. NSK, in turn, has no democratic government, ergo its citizens cannot affect NSK's development. However, the first NSK Congress is going to take place later this year. During the Congress people's visions shall be heard and several future plans shall be made.
There are even more of these identical characteristics between the alliance that covers almost all European countries and the micronation that started as a cultural curiosity, but let's take a look at one difference. NSK has thousands of citizens who have become strongly attached to it. In Great Britain there's a middle-aged man who wishes the NSK anthem to be played at his funeral when the time comes. Some people even have the symbol of NSK tattooed in their skin. The EU has 100,000 times more citizens but there aren't many individuals who honor the Union in such ways.
Last year's European Parliament election showed once again that people aren't interested in EU-related issues even if they should be. One reason for this may be that the EU has no undivided cultural heritage as a whole; it only has the cultural traditions of its individual members. The Union was built on completely other matters than culture and this remains an important ethno-symbolic problem. NSK was built on art and has its own music, visual arts, theatre etc. You can presume that NSK citizens all over the world have rather identical art predilections. That's fruit-bearing ground for social capital. Well, surely many NSK citizens purchase their passports just because of their taste for culture, but how is the EU going to reach even the normal nation-state level when it comes to the citizens' feeling of togetherness?