The Amsterdam Conversation on Europa - Felix Meritis 2013

Is Europe in a crisis of values? Does the continuous erosion of trust in our democratic infrastructure require that we define new values or do we have to ask ourselves if we do not practice the values we preach worldwide? These fundamental questions are often avoided in the debate on Europe but the discussion cannot be delayed any more.

A lot has been said and written about the European Union: the crises which some argue is actually part of a global transition, its democratic deficit, the banking union, and a federal Europe vs. less Europe and more national states’ power. However all we read, watch and hear is mainly focused on practical and technical – often short-term –issues instead of on visions about what kind of future we want for Europe. Much is discussed in terms of functionality, little is discussed in terms of purpose, value and vision.

 The Amsterdam Conversation on Europe is a event dedicated to serious and deep discussions on contemporary burning issues affecting our society and Europe.  The focus in 2013 was: how can we overcome the growing loss of trust in our democratic infrastructure and what Europe do we want in the future?

The event was opened by a lecture from Ivan Krastev (political scientist and author of the TED book In Mistrust We Trust). He shed light on the causes and effects of the current lost of trust not only in Europe but in the whole world. This lecture was followed by a discussion with Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General of the European Festival Association and a open debate with the public.

In the public debate in the evening Paul Scheffer (writer and professor of European Studies, Tilburg University) and Robert Menasse (writer and author of the book Der Europaïsche Landbote) shared their visions and confront them with the public. Paul Scheffer presented his essay The Hidden Vitality of Europe, specially written for the Amsterdam Conversation on Europe 2013.

Paul Scheffer: The Hidden Vitality of Europe (Essayreeks number 7, November 2013