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Veranstaltungen: Dokumentation

4.9.2003

Thinking Europe

The Future of Europe in a Transatlantic Context

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  • Biographies and Abstracts

    Thinking about Europe has a long tradition. It is integral to a European culture of discourse, reflecting Europe's self-image and its dependence on cultural, social policy and ethical-philosophical developments. The think tank was intended to lead an interdisciplinary discourse on the effects-based interplay of culture and identity in Europe. In this regard, the participants focused on the role played by the media in creating a European public debate, as well as on the image of Europe itself.

    There seems to be a correlation between a reduced awareness of the factors forming a European identity and an increase in the extent to which Europe is coming together economically and politically. Is there even an awareness of European culture as an independent entity? Or does European culture view itself as having long since been swallowed up by a western culture - a western culture dominated by the US? Do the attributes traditionally ascribed to the European sensibility - such as an awareness of history, complexity, reflectiveness, scepticism, experience in dealing with difference, with conflict, catastrophe and defeat, social responsibility and the like - even play a role today?

    To what extent do these issues influence the contemporary political and ethical discourse on the role of Europe in the context of the new global power relationships, and new concepts of values and of democracy? The foundation stones of Europe's future structure must be laid in 2003, because the European Union's enlargement to include ten new member states will require new political and legislative decision-making instruments. It is in this context that the Convention on Europe is preparing the framework conditions for a future European Constitution. We must now start reflecting on the kind of Europe we want to have following the enlargement process, and on the challenges facing us in terms of cultural work and civic education processes. The new global power-plays between "Old Europe" and the USA, together with the deep gulf between EU member states which has become apparent since the Iraq war, require an intense public debate on the structure and influence of Europe in the context of a new world order.

    The Federal Agency for Civic Education and the European Film Academy invited well-known international cultural and media figures, opinion-makers, contemporary commentators and politicians from around the world to attend this international and interdisciplinary think tank, which was held in the Villa La Collina in Cadenabbia on Lake Como, Italy. Within this chosen group, it was the intention to debate the common components of Europe's future direction and outlining methods to help Europe discover its identity.


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