On 7 and 8 April, I will be a speaker at the Ulysses Conference 2018 speaking on the topic European Democracy: an idea whose time has come?
The topic is justified by the simultaneous launch of different processes of reflection on the future of the European Union: the White Paper on the future of the EU, launched by the European Commission at the commemorations of the Treaty of Rome in March 2017; the Bratislava Process, launched by the European Council following the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom; and the process of the “EU Democratic Conventions”, suggested by the French President Emmanuel Macron.
After more than ten years of different crises the European Union has arrived at a crucial and decisive moment in its history: with its member states, it is a “club of democracies”, but only through the participation of its citizens will the EU become a genuine European Democracy. If it fails in this aim, the EU may very well fail to take advantage of this present moment in order to pause, take stock and rethink its position, ending up by falling once again into the throes of an existential crisis that runs the risk of being its last one.
The creation of a European Democracy is, however, a profoundly difficult question. For several centuries, philosophers, writers and visionaries, ranging from Erasmus of Rotterdam to Kant and Victor Hugo, have dreamt of founding a European republic, a federation of peaceful states or a cosmopolitan utopia and, in the latter case, a United States of Europe, the very idea that is “more powerful than all the world’s armies” at the moment when “its time” has come.
The two days of debates will be organised in such a way as to allow for a permanent interaction between the specialists or established speakers and the general public or the enthusiastic young people.