Photo credit: ∑ρФ Epo / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Federation, community, breakup? The future of the EU integration
28.10.2013, 6 p.m.
Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw
Dobra 55, Warsaw
During a conference organized a few years ago in London to celebrate Europe Day one of the major issues raised by Austrian ambassador to the United Kingdom – Austria was at that time president of the EU – was… the lack of jokes on the European Union. At the time being, only a British historian, Timothy Garton Ash, replied with the following one-liner: “If the EU applied to join the EU, it would not be admitted”. Over the next few years the number of jokes raised rapidly, yet the condition of the EU is getting less and less amusing.
The sheer number and scope of challenges is staggering – from the financial crisis still threatening the stability of the euro, through the question of accommodating a growing ethnic diversity of European societies and dealing with extremist political parties, to overcoming crises at the European gates – in Syria, Libya, Egypt etc.
How can these and many other difficulties be addressed? Some people look for the biggest and richest countries to lead the way. Others place their hopes in the new members and countries still aspiring to join the EU, as the overall attitude their citizens hold towards Europe is still very favourable. But even in such countries as Poland, where the so-called eurooptimism is prevalent, it seems to stem mainly from the financial benefits of being an EU member and it does not lead to an increased interest in Europe as a political, cultural and economic project. In Poland – just as in every other EU country – people hardly know their representatives in Brussels and turnout at the European elections is alarmingly low.
Will the year 2014 bring any change? Can Poland – the biggest post-communist country in the community – breathe some fresh air into the European Union? May the scepticism of some EU members be finally overcome? What can be done to bring European states not only closer to each other but also to bring Europe closer to its citizens? These are the questions asked during the debate “Federation, community, breakup? The future of the EU integration”
During the discussion we covered the following subjects:
Homo Europaeus? – how the Europeans by name can become Europeans by conviction?
Bringing new members in or bringing old members closer? – what model of integration should the EU adapt and is the above alternative inevitable?
Old alliances new challenges – what role can established partnerships such as Weimar Triangle play in reforming the EU?
Open door or revolving door? – what immigration policy should the EU pursue in light of new waves of immigration?
Ms. Rebecca Harms (Member of the European Parliament, co-president of the Greens-EFA group in the EP)
Mr. Marek Cichocki (Research director at the Natolin European Centre)
Mr. Adam Ostolski (Co-leader of the Polish Green Party)
Mr. Aleksander Smolar (Chairman of the Stefan Batory Foundation)
Moderator: Łukasz Pawłowski (“Kultura Liberalna”)
Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Heirnich Boell Foundation
Centre of French Culture and Francophone Studies