Ninth Debate on European Identity, 11 March 2014 - Ana
Palacio "The core EU challenge:
democratic deficit or trust deficit?"
The session will be introduced by Ms Ana Palacio, Former Minister of
Foreign Affairs of Spain, member of the Council of State of Spain.
In her presentation entitled ‘The core EU challenge: democratic
deficit or trust deficit ?’ She will share her reflections on Europe and
Ms Palacio’s presentation will be followed by a
discussion with the audience. The debate will be held in English.
The debate will take place at 14.15 p.m. on Tuesday 11 March in Room
10 of the Palais de l’Europe.
For more information please see Ms
Eighth Debate on
European Identity with Tzvetan Todorov on
'In search of Europe', 13 February 2014, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
According to Tzvetan Todorov, the growing unhappiness with the
European Union (EU) amongst the population should be understood as a
response to politicians’ lack of vision for the European project.
Interminable debates on bureaucratic rules and regulations, coupled with
inadequate responses to the economic and social crises facing Europe’s
citizens, leave citizens discouraged.
He remains convinced that the rationale in favour of the EU is still
valid and suggests that building a cultural, or even spiritual, identity
for Europe may help to overcome many disappointments and strengthen
people’s connection with Europe.
Tzvetan Todorov notes the benefits from the richness of European
culture, its plurality and diversity of traditions and ways of life, but
he also sees difficulties with attempts to define a shared identity. He
opts for an identity which refers to the constitutive pluralism of the
EU as a basis of unity. This should embrace tolerance, emulation,
critical thinking, generalised secularism, "general will"
(Rousseau) and "common sense" (Kant). He draws particular
attention to the significance and status of diversity as well
as common memories and the coexistence of national and
regional identities (‘Europe as a form of cohabitation between
Text of speech (French only)
More on Debates on European identity
Cooperation with think tanks
New ! -
Advisory Report by the think-tank Task Force on
'Smart Power - Ways of
Enhancing the Council of Europe's impact'.
As a follow-up to the December 2012 meeting of major think tanks, a task force-format with three different CoE-related focal topics has been decided,
each on a central topic or concept which from the CoE’s perspective
seems to be of strategic importance in the near or long-term future:
To date, two Task forces have met, gathering high-level and experienced think tank representatives.
first task force, ‘Smart Power – Ways of Enhancing the Council of Europe’s Impact’
met in Munich, on 27 June 2013. The activity report above is the result of
the discussions which were devoted to general strategic questions
concerning the Council of Europe’s role and impact as an international
organisation in the future. Major aspects such as the Council’s mandate,
its relationship with the EU, capabilities-question etc. were also
addressed, as well as : How can the CoE’s political impact be enhanced?
What strategies could be imagined to make the Council and its work more
relevant and visible to societies and governments? What could the
relationship between the Council and other international organisations
look like and which synergies could be used? The work of this task force
could later result in an innovative new “political strategy” for the
Council of Europe.
The second task force ‘The Pan-European Dimension:
Ensuring the Use of the Council’s Wider European Membership’ addressed the membership and scope of the Council of Europe as one of its key assets.
The third task force ‘Challenges to European Societies:
Identifying Major Risks and Finding Innovative Policies’ is expected to meet in Spring 2014.
Seventh Debate on
European Identity with Robert Salais on
‘European identity: the past waiting for a future’, 23 January 2014
There are two opposing visions for Europe, one is strategic and based on finding common interests between European states and the second takes a universalist approach arguing for a European identity which respects the socio-historical diversity of the region and which can serve as a model for other continents.
Robert Salais argues that the current dominant strategic orientation is neoliberalism and this is leading to an identity impasse, creating risks for the future of the European project. He suggests that to overturn this tendency Europe need to return to its original vision, to its universalist approach. For this to work, he outlines some conditions for Europe: the primacy of politics over economics; federalism and democratic deliberation at all levels; priority to fundamental human rights over economic freedoms; reaffirmation of the role of the state in the implementation of collective goals, etc.
What is preventing Europe from becoming a more human and political community?
How can we make Europe more open and democratic at all levels?
These and other issues will be addressed by Robert SALAIS who will introduce the seventh European Identity Debate with a presentation followed by a discussion with the audience.
Seventh Debate on ‘European identity: the past waiting for a future’.
Robert Salais' biography :
of the conference on Youtube
issue now available !
Schools of Political Studies at the 2nd World Forum for Democracy
This year again, the Council of Europe schools of political
studies participated in the World Forum for
Democracy, whose second session took place on
23 - 29 November.
A specific programme of events had also been organised for them
in the margins of the Forum, including the meeting of the Schools'
Directors on 27 November.
to the Plenary session dedicated to the Schools at the World Forum:
specific programme of events.
Forum web site
Sixth Debate on
European Identity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit on
"Quo vadis Europa ?" 18 November 2013, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
In a recent article Daniel Cohn-Bendit argued that “the time is
ripe for a transnational, trans-generational, trans-partisan,
grass-roots and crowd-funded movement to take European integration to
the next level”. He suggests that Europe has a role to play as one of the global
leaders, but to achieve this, Europe needs a paradigm shift based on the
abandonment of national sovereignty and a move away from state-nation
Is Europe ready to undertake these kinds of reforms and do
European institutions have enough legitimacy to do so?
What are the
limits of European integration and what responsibilities would national
states have in a transnational Europe?
Could European identity
one day substitute national patriotism?
Text of speech (French version - English version to follow)
|POLICY PLANNING IN BRIEF
of Policy Planning (DPP) was set up in 2010 in order to provide
the Secretary General, the Committee of Ministers and Major Administrative
Entities (MAEs) of the Council of Europe with conceptual and strategic
analyses about relevant political and societal developments in Europe
and beyond. Its work is based on research and on topical exchanges
with internal and external networks. The objective is to enhance
the Organisation’s ability to anticipate major trends and challenges
facing member states and to offer coherent short- and long-term
responses within its statutory mandate.
|Policy planning activities
|European Identity Debates
Does European identity already exist? How could European identity
be defined and characterised? How could a common European identity
contribute to strengthening the practices and processes of European
integration within a wider Europe?
These and many
more questions will be addressed in the new series of Debates on
European Identities initiated by the Council of Europe jointly
with the French Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA). Building
on the format of the previous Democracy debates, and enlarging
the thematic scope, this series aims
to provide an intellectual framework to stimulate reflection
amongst diplomats, Council of Europe staff and experts.
|Democracy Debate Series
This series of debates was initiated by the Secretary General
in order to stimulate reflection and discussion on the developments
and challenges affecting European societies, thereby fostering
innovative thinking and action within the Organisation and helping
to forge the role of the Council of Europe as a laboratory for
new concepts and ideas on democracy. From April 2011 to June
2012, the Democracy Debate series allowed member and observer
state Delegations and Council of Europe staff to attend a number
of debates introduced by renowned speakers on issues related
to the challenges to democracy in Europe and beyond.
Democracy Debates web site
Democracy Debates Collection:
on the Precipice'
|Meetings of Directors of Policy Planning
In order to analyse member States' European and trans-European
policies, the Directorate of Policy Planning organises meetings
bringing together Directors of policy planning from Ministries
of Foreign Affairs of Council of Europe member states. The first
such meeting took place in February 2011 on the general policies
in members States followed by a second meeting in September
on "Europe and its Arab neighbours: common or compatible
values?". The third meeting on 'Central Asian Neighbourhood:
Europe's Outpost or Trans-Asian Bridge?' took place in Bucharest
in March 2012. The latest meeting was held in Strasbourg in April 2013 on ‘The
Promotion of Democracy in Europe and Beyond: New Challenges,
Strategies and Instruments’.
|In-house Policy planning meetings
|The ALER-T (Awareness
Laboratory for early response - Team) in house meetings bring together
representatives of all Major Administrative entities (MAES), seeking
to enhance the Council of Europe's capacity to provide coherent
short-and long-term responses within its statutory mandate to challenges
facing member states and the Organisation. Since February 2011 more
than thirty five meetings have taken place on themes as varied as
intercultural dialogue, migration, political extremism, freedom
of expression, youth participation, rule of law, financial crisis
and social cohesion, corruption and human rights, concentration
of power, anti-piracy law, the use and abuse of history in times
of crisis, gender balance, elderly people and ageism.
|Country-based informal seminars
These meetings offer an opportunity to Council of Europe staff
members who work on activities relating to a specific country
to discuss the actual and potential role of the Council of Europe
in helping to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in that
At each meeting, the political context is introduced by a recognised
expert specialising in a country or region, followed by a discussion
raising issues relevant to the Council of Europe’s work with
the country or region in question.
Since October 2011, a number of closed informal brainstorming
meetings have taken place, including on Turkey (October 2011), Ukraine (February 2012),
Bosnia and Herzegovina (March 2012) and Azerbaijan (June 2012), Georgia (November 2012),
United-Kingdom (February 2013), ‘Non-Recognised/Separatist Entities’ (March 2013),
‘Europe after the Crisis’ (April 2013).
|Co-operation with think-tanks
The Directorate of Policy Planning is building contacts with
major European think tanks and reviews academic work on relevant
topics, such as climate change, demographic changes, robotics
and ethics, in order to provide Senior Management with strategic
expertise and background information.
On 4 December 2012, the Council of Europe organised a meeting of directors
of policy planning and representatives from 27 major European think tanks in Strasbourg.
|The Schools of Political
of Political Studies are aimed at training future generations of
political, economic, social and cultural leaders in countries in
transition. With the participation of national and international
experts, they organise annual series of seminars and conferences
on topics such as European integration, democracy, human rights,
the rule of law and globalisation.
The Schools web site
School Directors' meetings
The last meeting of the Directors of the Schools of Political
Studies took place in Strasbourg on 27 November 2013.
Seminars organised by
A number of seminars and other events are being organised by
October to December 2013.
|Group of Eminent Persons on "Living
together in the XXI Century"
the initiative of Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the
Council of Europe, a Group of Eminent Persons (GEP) was convened
in 2011 to prepare a report in the context of the project
''Living together in 21st century Europe'', on the challenges
arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in
Europe. The Directorate of Policy Planning implements follow-up
action to the report.
Joint Council of Europe - Harvard University Conference Series
"Divided by a Common Heritage:
Human Rights in Europe and the United States",
The United States of America and Europe have long considered themselves to be allies in the fight for domestic and international human rights. However, these two continents interpret certain key human rights issues in different ways and there is a need for a meaningful dialogue. Therefore, the Council of Europe and Harvard University have agreed to co-organise a two-part conference series, first in Cambridge, on 23 September 2013, and then in Strasbourg, in the first half of 2014. This conference series is aimed at exposing participants to viewpoints different from those they already possess, and thereby facilitate a greater understanding on the similarity and dissimilarity in human rights perspectives, practices and standards across the Atlantic.
The first conference took place in Cambridge on 23
September 2013. It was composed of three panels:
• Panel 1: Does Context Matter? How and Why Europe and the US Differ on Human Rights ?
• Panel 2: Cyberspace: Terra Incognita for Human Rights? European and US Experiences
• Panel 3: Overcoming Intolerance: Addressing Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the US and Europe
The conference at Harvard Law School gathered a variety of
high-level American and European speakers. It was attended by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe who gave a speech on “Is There a Crisis of Values in the Western World?”. Panelists included leading Harvard academics and European scholars and practitioners.
The topics to be addressed at the second conference in Strasbourg will include: Penal System, Living Together: Asylum and immigration, Social Protection Systems.
Programme of the conference
The second conference of the series will take
place in Strasbourg, in May or June 2014.
Council of Europe - OSCE study
In 2011, the Council of Europe commissioned the study ‘The Council
of Europe and the OSCE: Enhancing Co-operation and Complementarity
through Greater Coherence’. This study was finalised in March
2012 and includes a number of practical proposals on how the
two organisations could achieve greater synergies and ensure
better coherence and complementarity. It was brought to the
attention of all Delegations to the Council of Europe and through
the OSCE Secretary General and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to
the Delegations at the OSCE.
Read the report on relations between the CoE and the OSCE