The Seminar “Is a common Europe possible?” took place at the School of Aristotle in the city of Naoussa from 6 to 8 July 2018. Europe is experiencing one of its most important phases in its history, this of redefining its role in a new world stage while addressing its internal and external challenges. Refugee reception and migrant integration crisis, security threats, populism and social justice are only some of the important issues to which Europe should respond with solidarity, dialogue and determination to look confidently towards the future. Ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2019, two thirds of European citizens support that their country has benefited from the EU membership, and that their voice counts in the decision-making1.
However, Europe remains an ongoing and often endangered project. Its integration depends heavily on the willingness and determination of its people to develop a stronger community. Global challenges require global approaches, and this can only be guaranteed through common action. The EU has in many instances, proved itself as a world leader; The Paris Agreement on climate change, the Iran Deal (JCPOA) along with its multiple missions and operations prove that European states can have greater role in shaping the future by working in unity rather than by depending in their own capabilities. Europe also proved its ability to set global standards and to protect its citizens. The recent Data Protection Regulation is the most prominent example of Europe’s soft power.
The seminar examined the future of European integration or not through different approaches which enriched the participants’ understanding of Europe’s policy mechanisms and the main challenges ahead of the European Parliament Elections of 2019.
The Seminar’s main objective was to explore the ongoing developments in Europe, including the European Union, within a continuously changeable global environment and the various options and alternatives for further European integration (or not), with an emphasis on the European elections of 2019 and the prospects for spatial enlargement and social inclusion. Is a common Europe possible? Will a democratic Europe where the principles of equality, the rule of law and human rights protection apply to all? Sixty years after the signature of the Treaties of Rome, can the European Union provide credible responses to crucial policy areas that will address the current challenges and redefine its position as a key global player?
1 Eurobarometer Survey 89.2, «Democracy on the move, European Elections – One year to go», European Parliament, May 23rd, 2018