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
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’.
The second issue of our
(November 2013) is now issued.
Debate on European Identity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit on "Quo
vadis Europa ?",
18 November 2013, Council of Europe, Strasbourg (19.11.2013)
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
These and other questions were addressed by Daniel
COHN-BENDIT who introduced the sixth European Identity Debate
with a presentation that was followed by a lively discussion
with a very numerous audience.
"Divided by a Common Heritage: Human Rights in
Europe and the United States" Joint Council of Europe -
Harvard University Conference, Harvard University,
Cambridge, MA/USA, 23 September 2013 (25.09.2013)
Harvard Law School, Wasserstein
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.
conference 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
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.
Inauguration of the Visegrád School of Political
Studies, Warsaw, 18 September (18.06.2013)
Visegrád School of Political Studies was inaugurated on
Wednesday 18 September 2013 in Warsaw, (Poland), in presence of
two guests of honour: Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of
the Council of Europe, and Radosław Sikorski, Minister of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
inauguration was followed by the first seminar of the School.
Fourth Debate on European Identity with President Martti Ahtisaari
‘Europe is stronger than you think – if we reinvent ourselves’
Many say that Europe is having an existential crisis. For sure, the challenges
are severe - and they are not only economic, but also deeply political.
In times of crisis, we must not only consider the weaknesses of Europe
but also highlight those qualities that made it strong. We have to be
able to reinvent Europe.
What are the strong attributes of Europe? How to keep the
European dream alive? Can European politicians act together to build a
common future? What vision for the Europe of tomorrow?
Those were the key issues Mr. AHTISAARI, former
President of Finland addressed in his
presentation, followed by a discussion with a very numerous audience.
Meetings of the Directors of the Schools of
The Directors of the Schools
of Political Studies met on 13-14 June 2013 in Strasbourg for
one of their regular meetings. This provided an opportunity to
discuss recent developments in the Network, future activities of
the Schools and their participation in the
World Forum for Democracy, which will be held in Strasbourg
from 27 to 29 November 2013.
20th anniversary of the Moscow School of Civic Education
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Moscow
School of Civic Education organised on 25-27 April 2013 in
Golitsyno near Moscow the seminar "Moscow School: 20 years". 20
years ago, on 4 April 1993, the Moscow School of Civic Education
held its first seminar on "Politics, economics and national
relationships". For the past two decades, the School has
contributed to the objective of transforming Russia into a truly
open and democratic civil society which functions effectively.More
Open-ended Debate Series
third conference of the series was introduced on 23
Professor Peter Singer, an Australian moral
philosopher, Professor at Princeton University, on 'The rights of animals and human obligations'.
Audio recording -Video
Open-ended Debate Series (15.02.2013)
second conference of the series was
introduced on 14 February by
Breton, a laureate of the Institut de France, University
Professor at the University Centre of Media Studies,
University of Strasbourg. Professor Breton addressed the
theme ‘The City by the Yardstick of great Anthropological
Changes’. He started his presentation from a recognition
that the invention of the city is perhaps at the exact
intersection of three major anthropological changes in the
history of humankind. The first concerns the shift from the
tool to the machine, the second the transition from
traditional societies to individualistic societies. And
finally, the third change concerns the establishment of a
process of de-legitimisation of violence and civilising of
behaviour. The presentation was followed by a lively
discussion with the audience. (Audio
had been introduced in November 2012 by
Weede on 'Human Rights, Economic Freedom and State
The Moscow School of
Civic Education celebrates its 20th anniversary
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the
Moscow School of Civic Education organised on 25-27 April
2013 in Golitsyno near Moscow the seminar "Moscow School: 20
years". 20 years ago, on 4 April 1993, the Moscow
School of Civic Education held its first seminar on
"Politics, economics and national relationships". For the
past two decades, the School has contributed to the
objective of transforming Russia into a truly open and
democratic civil society which functions effectively.
The School’s seminars, which focus on the most important
and complex problems of modern times, offer young leaders a
unique platform for open debates and free-thinking. To
celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Moscow School of
Political Studies invited its Alumni from all over Russia to
the above mentioned seminar. The connection between power
and society, power and personality as well as the question
of morality in politics will be the key topics of the event.
The School’s Alumni will debate with prominent national and
President of the European Association of Schools of
Political Studies of the Council of Europe, delivere a
speech on "Power, Personality and Political Institutions".
For more information and the programme, please visit the
website of the Moscow School.
by Secretary General
The inauguration of the School of Political
Studies of Morocco took place on 14 March
2013 in Rabat and was followed by a conference on
the theme “Challenges and limits of deliberative democracy”.
The inauguration of the Tunisian School of Politics
had taken place on 8 January 2013 in Tunis.
Both Schools are being set up in the framework of the
Council of Europe new neighbourhood policy.
of the Tunisian School of Politics had taken
place on 8 January 2013 in Tunis, in the presence of the
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who
on this occasion. The inauguration was preceded by the
signing of the Memorandum of Understanding about the Council
of Europe’s presence in Tunisia by the Council of Europe and
the Tunisian authorities.
Both Schools are being set up in the framework of the
Council of Europe new neighbourhood policy. Independent NGOs
like the sixteen existing Schools in Central and Eastern
Europe, the new Schools’ objective will be to train new
generations of political, economic, social and cultural
leaders. Through annual series of seminars related to
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the new Schools
will make a concrete contribution to the ongoing
transitional processes in their countries.
Julian Popov was
appointed Minister of Environment and Water
On 13 March 2013 Julian Popov was appointed Minister of
Environment and Water in the Caretaker government of
Bulgaria. Mr Popov, Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian
School of Politics, is a renowned expert and journalist, who
published numerous articles in Bulgarian and European media
on European policy, EU enlargement, energy, sustainable
development and low carbon economy. For almost twenty years,
Mr Popov has been working as an advisor in institutional
development, public relations and educational policy for a
number of prestigious organisations such as European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission,
the British Open University and the European Association of
Distance Learning Universities. Mr Popov’s recent projects
have included work on a “Quality and impact assessment
manual for the Schools of Political Studies”, aiming to
facilitate knowledge sharing on training methods between
Schools and to enhance their capacity to build new
On Tuesday 4 December 2012, Secretary General Thorbjørn
Jagland hosted a
meeting of directors and representatives from 27 major
European think tanks in Strasbourg. The
meeting was part of the Council’s efforts to enhance its
impact by strengthening the collaboration with all relevant
actors having a role in broad conceptual and political
debates. Think tanks have become important actors in many
policy fields and can provide access to new ideas and