Congress The Future of the European Union

SIB debate European multiculturalism

SIB, The Future of the EU

SIB, debate The Lisbon Treaty


In the Netherlands November 29, 2007 the Students Association for International Affairs (SIB) addressed the various issues facing the European Union, during
the XIIth Lustrum Congress "The Future of the European Union"


Fifty years after the founding of the European Community in Rome, the dreams, hopes and ambitions of that era have faded and are replaced by realism and incrementalism, the European Constitution was shot down by the citizens of France and The Netherlands, and although the Lisbon Treaty still remains, the bigger question of the broader future of the European Union has not been adressed.

A discussion amoung European citizens on the lines and limits along which political integration should develop, has not evolved. But if Europe continues to integrate through a technocratic and bureaucratic process, it will become a project without a soul and, perhaps even more important, a project without legitimacy.

Economic integration leads to spillovers into other spheres of government, but these advancements lack vision and vehemence. Therefore, it is important to stimulate a discussion on the future of the European Union.

What is it what we want from a European community of 27 states? On what fields should Brussels deliver? And what ougt to remain the domain of the nation state? How to construct an institutional arrangement that is transparant and has grassroots support?

The focus is not an EUtopia, but practical. Hopes, fears, critical debates, laughter and frustations about Europe's future, our future, instils a way of thinking about Europe.

The central question throughout the day:

In what way can legislation or a common identity constitute to a closer Union? How should we construct a (common) defence policy and what will be its aim? And how long will the Treaty of Lisbon satisfactory?"

Also younger people are able to organize a high level congress about the future of the EU.
A very dynamic program (splitted in a political and juridical section and furthermore in seminars, lectures and debates) and interesting theses and speakers guaranteed the success of the aim to provide participants with indepth knowledge of relevant areas of (future) European cooperation.

European identity and multiculturalism: Is there an European identity? What way do we want to go as Europe?

The future of the European Treaty: urgent need in Europe for common policies. The future of European Economic Integration. The ambivalence between the nation state and a European identity.

On the conference a volume has been published.

Fifty years is a good age. By fifty, you will be secure in your values. You will have worked out how to organise your daily business. You will have maturity and experience, but you will still be ready to strike out in new directions, to take a few risks. You may well be lucky enough to enjoy a large family. And a wide circle of friends and neighbours as well.
19 April 2007: Muller Lecture by
Margot Wallström, Taking the European Union Forward: The Next Fifty Years

In "European Union The Next Fifty Years, where 50+ Top thinkers set out their ideas for Europe (FT Business, March 2007)" feasible expectations and goals are given. IDEAS FOR EUROPE set out by 50+ top thinkers. Quotations from the book EUROPEAN UNION THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS (Financial Times March 2007):

"Privileged partnerships - with real content". (Hans-Gert Pöttering. President of the European Parliament)

"A new organisation for Europe"

"The top down process of European integration to date has opened a yawning gap between the élites
and the citizens. Europe needs a new document and a new institution based on free cooperation
between nation states"....
(Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic)

"Back to our core principles"

"A positive scenario for Europe need not to be wishful thinking - provided our societies embrace a
dynamic of reform, without losing sight of the Union's founding principles of peace, prosperity and cohesion"
(Isabel Mota, Executive Trustee Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation)

"Being European is not about steamrollering national differences into an artificial unity, nor about
replicating national ties. It is a mindset which transcends frontiers by celebrating law, tolerance,
secularism and humanity" (Bernard-Henri Lévy, Philosopher)

"The European Union today can serve as a role model for other regions"

"The EU has come a long way in a short period of time, and the fundamental values that lie at the
heart of the Treaty of Rome will continue to encourage investment in years to come, ensuring a
secure future for Europe and her inhabitants"
(Dr. Horst Dietz, President Invest in Germany).

Restoring Europe to the citizen requires new strategies for increasing participation, improving
democratic scrutiny and harnessing the new technologies which are transforming communications
and identity" (
Margot Wallström, EU Commission Vice-President).

"Mass culture has eroded the common values which Europeans have transmitted through their
i ntellectual and artistic traditions. It's time to restore the most precious part of our cultural
inheritance" (
Gérard Mortier, General Director Paris National Opera).

"On basis of 'unity in diversity' Europeans can construct a new discourse of national interest, pragmatic coorporation and constitutional consensus".

"The European Union should avoid high-flown rhetoric and concetrate on what it is remarkably good at - finding pragmatic solutions and delevering practical benefits to its citizens" (Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politcs Princeton University).


Financial Times, March 2007 "European Union the next fifty years"): "Try harder to ensure national authorities take greater ownership of the European venture. If governments continue, when it suits them, to treat the EU and its institutions publicy as alien or hostile, what hope is there of encouraging popular ownership of the project? Communication is not an afterthought: it has to be done on your audience's terms, not yours. If your messaging is not up to scratch, then your policy risks being misunderstood, resented or ignored. Remember that people will never be won round by ideology alone.
An EU that trades on past glories is a past glory itself, so continue to deliver on sustainable development for the sake of future generations. Invest in fighting and adapting to climate change. Face outwards not inwards: globalisation is a momentous force and by mid-century it will be the fabric of economic life, so learn Chinese, or Hindi. Remember Europe's immense strenghts too - and have faith in it"