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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Information on "The Sound of Europe"

 

“Europe is a spiritual conception. But if men cease to hold that conception in their minds, cease to feel its worth in their hearts, it will die. [...]. This is the supreme opportunity, and if it be cast away, no one can predict that it will ever return and what the resulting catastrophe will be”. With these memorable words Winston Churchill described the possibility of a united Europe in 1947, but at the same time warned of the consequences of failure.

Fifty years on, Eastern and Western Europe are at last united, what was inconceivable at the time has become a reality. However, alongside this unprecedented opportunity, problems that many considered had been solved have resurfaced. Nationalism, populism, indefinable fears about the future and social discontent mean that for many people across the continent, Europe no longer stands for peace, prosperity and security. These eurosceptic sentiments were reflected in the French and Dutch ‘No’ to the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Such developments raise questions as to the nature of Europe, the existence of a European identity and the prospects for a common European future.

The event being organised by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU entitled “The Sound of Europe” is intended to initiate a broad public debate on the meaning and role of Europe, as well as about the tensions within the European Union and to propose practical solutions.

The date 27 January is highly symbolic for reflecting on visions for the European peace project. Firstly, it is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart, who transcended borders with his music and who was at home throughout Europe, is regarded as the epitome of a European. The spirit of this musical genius will inspire this Conference dedicated to the sound of Europe. Secondly, 27 January also marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945, thus serving as a reminder of the motives for the European unification process after World War II.

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Date: 26.01.2006