EUROPEAN DIALOGUE
EUROPEAN  -  NONPARTY  -  CREATIVE

European Dialogue Together let us shape a new vision for making Europe a reality!

 

The founding of the non-party European and cultural forum European Dialogue saw the opening of a new and decisive chapter in the history of the project for European unity.

The first chapter was written by the founding fathers, who drew the bold and logical conclusions from the experiences of their generation and began the European project which has led to the present European Union.  They had experienced how the results of nationalism laid Europe in ruins and set people against each other. Today there is a noticeable rebirth of national borders in Europe. The more some people push for a strengthening of those borders, while others do nothing, the more it becomes clear that there is an increasing element of national symbolism involved in the process.

The second major chapter was formed by the generation of politicians who grew up in Western Europe, in peace and flourishing prosperity, and who saw it as a particular achievement of each individual state. For that generation the nation state was a synonym for the welfare state. In the East, at the same time, a generation was growing up for whom those goals of the former “European Community“ became a political utopia. They saw the collapse of communism as a „national renaissance“, in which the concept of the “nation“ was closely linked to ideas like freedom and self-determination. That generation had different experiences and ideas from the founding fathers of today’s EU.                               Most of them were the products of elite schools and they coped successfully with the challenges which faced them. They were too closely bound to their respective countries to adopt the idea of the founding fathers, that of shaping Europe together. With that very same pragmatism with which they have brought Europe to the brink of disaster, they are now trying to stop Europe sinking into the abyss. If their schemes do not work, then as far as they are concerned, Europe does not work. Instead of shaping things courageously and openly, in concert with ordinary citizens as their inspiration, they are increasingly sinking into their own national corners and dare not take the transnational open view. No vision! Their motto is the short lifespan. One crisis after another is managed “step by step“ and in this way they avoid or shy away from the view of the great challenges, mostly because of national situations.

Where are those brave and decisive visionaries who sincerely and relentlessly demand a “vision“? A blank sheet of paper will stay blank if there is no one to write on it. Could this be the beginning of the end for the EU? It is increasingly dissolving into a lack of solidarity, of seriousness and enthusiasm, then into too much breaking of rules and national egoism on the part of its politicians.

Must we enlightened and worldly-wise, even passionately convinced Europeans of all countries really stand and watch helplessly as Europe breaks apart as a result of populist nationalism, because we can unfortunately do nothing at all against this erosion and the end of Europe? My answer to that question is an impassioned “No!”.

In September 2016 the Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres gave a moving final speech “on behalf of all optimists against the prevailing pessimistic groundswell.“ He spoke specifically to “his European friends“: "For a long time you were only a small, hate-driven continent, completely shattered after the World wars. And you are not at all aware of the story of success of the last decades. Your income is now five times higher than in 1957. Even the poorest among you have food, water and shelter. You have developed something sensational – a “collective brain“. The European dream of competitiveness, of social unity, of ecological sustainability is alive and respected all over the world (...)".

Peres went on: “Now we can see, fairly accurately, what is coming. Unfortunately our universities are teaching mostly about the past. There is no school of the future, and to the same old questions there are unlikely to be new answers. Those who seek better answers have to learn to ask new questions. The world of today is divided into “givers“ and “takers“. Those who give, win friends. And nothing is more expensive, nothing costs more than enemies. That is why I have this double protest, against the prevailing pessimism and those old questions. For the future is more important than the past.“

The founding of European Dialogue has opened a new chapter, established a forum which provides opportunities to relight the necessary European political dialogue to have an effect far beyond national borders.

Europe’s “raw materials“ are EDUCATION and CULTURE! I believe that these are the two key skills which teach most importantly young people to value each other, to get to know each other and to see Europe as a space which is natural, perceptible, living, diverse and familiar. The citizens of Europe are the guarantors of a Europe of the future! Let us use those strengths to shape Europe together! We need the courage of the founding fathers, who looked far into the future, the wisdom of people like Shimon Peres and the enthusiasm of young people who must stand increasingly in the centre of these efforts to shape Europe with confidence and trust! Those who have no vision of the future of Europe will not be able to inspire anyone towards the “idea“of Europe!

For European Dialogue, one of Bertrand Russell’s sayings is apposite: “Moral ideas sometime go hand in hand with political decisions, but sometimes they precede them“. If one firmly believes in something one must step up for it with commitment and the courage to do one’s duty as well as taking on the associated responsibility.

Success or failure lies in our hands! Confidence, courage and optimism are the needs of the moment!


Andreas J. Schröck

Founder of European Dialogue

 

European Dialogue Gemeinsam gestalten wir Europa!