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Tagungskalender 2006
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Does Europe need concrete symbols?

 

The discussion was based on the question how the Europeans could sustain their way of life and protect their welfare system and their cultural traditions without becoming a "cultural zoo". The importance of education in reference to the creation of a European Identity was underlined. In this context, it was pointed out that identity itself is a continuous process. It was debated how identity - which is normally based on similarities - could cope with diversity and that the evolution of a European Identity has to avoid the destruction of other identities. According to the panelists, there exists no European Identity yet. Therefore, it was agreed that there is an urgent need for visions and living symbols. Although the need for action was declared, there could not be found a consensus about who should function as a symbol, whether it should be politicians - this was doubted - or European pop stars or athletes. The participants agreed upon the fact that culture is the main vehicle to transmit ideas, complaining that the budget for culture is too low. It was also stated that the absence of a common European language is hindering the development process of a European identity. In this context, it was questioned whether English as the lingua franca could be the answer, implicating that the present high translation costs could then be used for cultural purposes. As a further critique, the kafkaesque bureaucracy in Brussels was mentioned as a cause for the insufficient use of available European funds. More generally spoken, the gap between the political elite and the European people was considered as the main reason for the present crisis. As far as it concerns the conference itself, the absence of young panelists and participants and the negligence of religious topics were criticised, especially in reference to the possible accession of Turkey.

 

-Summary by Gudrun Matt

Datum: 27.02.2006