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In the autumn of 2011, EUNIC in Brussels and its member institutes will be presenting a series of evening talks on the advantages of shrinking in Europe, specifically based on the experience of each of the participating countries.
Surprisingly many European nations share historical experiences of “shrinking”. Across the entire continent one can find countries whose territorial size or power – or, in some cases, whose ambition – has been reduced by history. This loss was of course never intended and usually the result of a defeat. But Europeans decided to create something new out of it and started the process of European unification, based on democratic values and peace, within itself and towards the rest of the world. Owing to its unification, Europe has become an - at least potentially - powerful voice in the world, which is probably one of the reasons why the EU is so attractive for smaller member states.
Today, however, economic giants, such as Brazil, Russia, India or China have arisen and Europe is “getting smaller”. Instead of taking it as a defeat, the member states should, beyond their own national interests, use their own experience of “getting smaller” in a free and internally accepted way. The wise decision to abandon “greatness” could provide a very interesting model for the future, not only in Europe but to the rest of the world. “Getting smaller” is all about transnational exchange, problem-driven discussion and enhancing citizens’ feeling that they can make a difference. The project will achieve this by bringing together citizens from several member states to discuss aspects of European history and reflect about guidance they may provide regarding current challenges.
The series of four evening events, hosted by BELvue, will foster comparisons across countries and sectors, and by doing so, raise awareness of European history and values and foster the feeling of a shared European identity. Each evening debate will be presented by two member institutes, and speakers from the various countries will be exposing their point of views. The question of memory and how it can shape identity will be addressed; the issue of nationalism in the member states as well as its consequences on the future of the EU will also be raised. Multiculturalism within the member states and within Europe, as well as the notion of centre and periphery in Europe will also be discussed.
For more information on the project, please contact:
Project Manager, Goethe-Institut
Co-ordinator, EUNIC in Brussels
Added: 08 July 2011