Transatlantic Curiosity

, by Alexandrine Gauvin

Transatlantic Curiosity

As part of an international conference that will be held in Montreal on 14 November, European, Québec and Canadian specialists and academics will be examining the case of Europe like a team of surgeons on a patient. Their objective: issue a diagnosis on the state of Europe by looking into its past as a world power.

Daringly entitled « The Decline of the European Empire », this event will be an unhoped-for opportunity to gather thinkers and field actors from both shores of the Atlantic on a common theme, a common concern, but through different perspectives. The fact is simple but the debate complex: Europe is not what it once was; its role in an increasing globalizing world needs to be redefined.

An important element needs to be highlighted: Europe’s situation is interesting more and more individuals and societies, far beyond its own borders. The eyes of the international community are on the old continent, observing and analysing its evolution. This increasing attention, particularly focused on the European Union, is mainly justified in the context of the sovereign debt crisis, but it also reflects what the EU wants to become and accomplish. We are realizing today that what will happen to the EU will play a major role on the world’s state structure, since if this symbol of normative power, this post-war success model, fails in its attempts to maintain its internal and international credibility, it will be a key source of hope for socio-economic achievement that will collapse. It will be the end of a collective dream, with all the detrimental consequences it implies on the minds of societies worldwide.

The European Union owes it to the future; it owes it to those that still believe in a united force capable of contributing to the improvement of quality of life for all: it has to succeed in recovering from this economic and identity crisis. The world observes, North America observes with great awareness and this conference is a direct result of these concerns. It may be about the decline of an empire, but the speakers will first and foremost talk about the redefinition of the role of Europe in relation to its past as a world power, its repositioning in the global scheme of things and ultimately, they will discuss solutions that lead towards a reinforced federalism of the EU, all of this producing a happy combination of ideas that will generate lively debates. Heated discussions are to be expected.

There is a saying that wisely states that we are all in the same boat: what will happen to Europe will affect Quebecers and Canadians, as well as many other modern and emerging societies. The interest of specialists and policy makers for Europe is crucial to generate profound and long-lasting changes in order for it to rise above this serious crisis and come out stronger than before. We all have the responsibility of caring for the fate of Europe and of the EU, since we are all concerned by a common future.

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