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Workshop 5: Conflicting ideas of Europe: The role of values in citizenship education

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Workshop 5: Conflicting ideas of Europe: The role of values in citizenship education

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A strong Europe is what Jürgen Habermas wishes to see in a recently published article in German and international politics journals. As an afterthought he asks at the same time, what this Europe is supposed to be. Europe, today, is many things – a real and also constantly disputed geographical and conceptual space; a democratic part of the world with optimum guarantees of fundamental and human rights and at the same time too, of brutal human rights violations; a surface of projection for those who remain outside, a vague idealist construct for many inside Europe likewise; a means of argumentation and power in the hands of the political elites; a real utopia?

The question of values seems to be the focus of the debates on Europe and the democratic constitution of European societies in times of current conflicts, chronic expansion fatigue, economic inequalities and new social protest movements. Democratic fundamental consensus is at stake in multiple cases. In what kind of Europe do we want to live and on what values should Europe’s future identity be based? The traumas of the 20th century are reflected in the founding of the European Union as a new and unprecedented form of international organisation.

Globalization, new and unsettled conflicts at Europe's periphery as well as the rise of new powers in Asia and other parts of the world show the need for a debate on values in Europe. Values such as freedom, equality and human rights underlying open societies are challenged, and thus democracy as well.

The workshop will refer to these contexts: How can Europe be defined today as a community of values, economic interests and solidarity? Who has sovereignty of interpretation over the democratic and value-based shaping of Europe’s future? Where do the current challenges lie for Europe’s democratic constitution? How strong are illiberal and authoritarian forces in some member states of the EU? Are these authorities the European institutions, civic society or the citizens directly? How can these various interests be combined to form a coherent understanding of democracy? Departing from these questions, the focus of the workshop will be the role of citizenship education as one of the keys to the permanent reflection on Europe as a fundamental emancipatory and democratic project.

Inputs:
Interner Link: Vedran Dzihic, The Austrian Institute for International Affairs (Austria)
Interner Link: Kris Grimonprez, University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

Moderation: Alicja Pacewicz, Center for Citizenship Education (Poland)

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