On 23 February 2016, the Project for Democratic Union hosted the event ‘Quo Vadis Europe? The European Project in Crisis’ in conjunction with the BMW Stiftung.
Renowned German philosopher and former Secretary of State for Culture and Media Professor Julian Nida-Rümelin made the keynote address. His speech was followed by a panel discussion which also featured reputed political scientist Professor Werner Weidenfeld and the PDU’s own Benjamin Zeeb.
In his speech, Professor Nida-Rümelin made clear that the current process of European integration, which was set in motion in 1951 with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, has come to an end. It is no longer possible to rely on the automatic teleology of ever-closer union. At the same time, some wrong turns were taken in the integration project which are mostly related to an excessive drive to streamline institutions instead of creating legitimate forms of governance. The result was neither efficient nor effective, especially in the field of higher education.Professor Nida-Rümelin asked the question of what typically European traits could be utilised in the attempt to build a common civil society. After reviewing several options, he focused on the relationship between culture and the state, which most Europeans handle similarly with the state playing a major role. Most countries the world over handle this relationship differently, making the European approach truly unique.
Professor Weidenfeld added a range of anecdotes to the discussion. In his opinion the current European Crisis was to be understood in the context of previous European crisis discourse, more a problem of constructing a common identity than common governance structures, which he sees as largely in place already.