What Past for What Future? ─ What History for What Europe?
A series of reflection meetings on the prospects of Europe
There is a need for a new debate on Europe in the world. A debate which develops more critical distance and which tries to rethink the preconditions of the European integration instead of just commenting on the steady daily stream of messages from Brussels, more often than not about defects and shortcomings in the integration machinery. Critical distance means among others to develop new kinds of questions about the future prospects of Europe rather than keeping on answering to the problems in the same pace as they are communicated.
The aim of this series of meetings is to reflect on a new historical underpinning of the European integration project against the backdrop of the severe legitimacy problems it is suffering from. Our argument is that a naïve historical understanding of the integration plays a not unimportant role in this legitimacy deficit. It is the matter of a history about continuous progress towards a predetermined goal. There is an urgent need for a new history that emphasizes the fragility of the European project and questions assumptions of a specific starting point, irrespective of whether this is located in the Greek Antiquity, the birth of Christ, the Enlightenment or in 1945.
At the same time it must be a history that emphasizes the potential of a social and political Europe, a history that provides the ground for new imaginations of a future Europe prepared to act in unity under recognition of diversity and disunity. On that basis Europe should take its part in a responsible and responsive world order which is suffering from the same lack of legitimacy and conviction as the European one is.
The point of departure for the two first meetings of the reflection will be two recent books which will serve as background material for the reflection.
The intention is to publish the discussions from each meeting in edited volumes and/or web publications. The aim is to initiate a European debate of a more profound kind.
For further information, see:
Helsinki, 25-26 October 2010