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Meetings Calendar 2006
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The European crisis. A sad sound?

 

The divisions within the European Union during the Iraq crisis; the results of the referendums on the constitutional treaty; the row over the European Union’s budget – they are all indicators of a crisis in which the Union finds itself.

But the crucial question is ‘what is the nature of the crisis?’ Are the problems and concerns mainly economic, and could a solution be couched in economic terms? Or is there a structural political problem, a crisis in politics and in our democracy, and is it all about building bridges, restoring legitimacy and confidence, reflecting on the essence of democracy? Or does the crisis in Europe point to an even more fundamental problem? Is it a crisis in European culture? The crisis of a society that – like the venerable company in the salon of Musil’s Mann ohne Eigenschaften – no longer knows what it means to be European, and is searching for the one idea that will bind, an intellectual basis from which European society could derive its identity?

What is Europe? What is the essence of the current crisis? What are its underlying causes? We shall have to answer these questions first before we can begin a debate on ‘Europa quo vadis?

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Date: 31.01.2006