A conference on populism, extremism and euro-scepticism in today's European societies.
Populism, extremism and Euroscepticism are haunting Europe, creating a tense atmosphere in which fear, hate, anger and anxiety converge: a climate of European Angst. The more momentum populist parties and movements gain, the more clueless the established political, cultural and legislative institutions seem to be. Why is this happening now? And how are we dealing with it? The conference European Angst will shed light on these questions in a unique way. It will leave the comfort zone of liberal consensus by inviting controversial thinkers, creating thus a space for passionate debate, for reflection and in-depth analysis.
Among the participants are the writers and philosophers Slavoj Zizek, Didier Eribon and Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller as well as 40 students selected in an open call. Representing tomorrow’s decision makers, they will play an active role in the conference, and they will draft a manifesto on Europe’s future to be handed over to EU officials.
European Angst is an initiative by Goethe-Institut Brussels together with four EUNIC-members, the Czech Centre, the Alliance française de Bruxelles-Europe, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Polish Institute in Brussels, and BOZAR. It is supported by European Movement International, Evens Foundation, and the Ambassade de France en Belgique. Mediapartner: EU Observer
“I believe a much greater threat is how we have become entangled in pseudo-conflicts in the midst of a crisis that could threaten our very survival – in the UK the yes or no to Brexit, the military regime or Erdogan in Turkey, and the new Baltic, Polish and Ukrainian fundamentalists or Putin in Eastern Europe.”
Žižek’s response to the question: “What frightens you?”, FAS,
18 September 2016
“The European Union is not in the position to meet the current challenges and to defend its own democratic structure which is increasingly resembling the UN – an observer of genocides condemned to eternal powerlessness, as the case of Syria again shows. European democracy is no longer in danger, it is already in a state of collapse. Do we want to continue standing on the side lines?”
“With the prevailing mood of “European angst”, Europeans are being poorly advised. European integration will only succeed through active participation, not by evading responsibility. Simply leaving is cowardly. We must counteract this as people of culture. We have a social responsibility to the European cultural area.”
“The more openly problems are discussed, the more peaceful societies will be. This concerns both sides – the majority who disadvantage minorities and members of minorities who isolate themselves owing to their prejudices. Arguing out these conflicts is not a sign of failed integration, but of a vibrant society.”
„Wer für Business as usual in Europa eintritt, ohne den neuen außenpolitischen Kurs der gegenwärtigen polnischen Regierung zur Kenntnis zu nehmen, heuchelt. All deren vermeintlich europafreundliche Bekenntnisse zu mehr Integration und besserer Zusammenarbeit sind von der Realität auf schmerzliche Weise widerlegt worden.“
“Also on the European mainland the voices are getting louder of those who are ready to break with a paradigm that appeared sacrosanct until recently – that a united Europe is a prerequisite for the continuation of peace.”
Lehnartz in an essay in Welt am Sonntag, 14 August 2016
“Central Europe is not the only region currently affected by populist policies. But it is clear that if you do not have stable institutions, an efficient and independent judiciary or a professional state administration, it can be quite hard to stabilize the decisions of voters that sometimes go wildly off track following strange promises of even stranger people.”
„For the future of Europe I hope we can once again show the courage that prevailed on this continent in 1989 to bring down our own walls. We must now work on bringing down new walls and embrace the risk of openness as part of our spirit instead of following nationalistic sirens.”
Langhoff in a guest contribution on the ZDF series Europas Zukunft (Europe's future), 22 December 2015
“Relations in Europe and in other integrative systems give rise to very different interests. Political scientists characterise them as relations of cooperation and conflict. Such an organisation nevertheless requires cooperation to function. However, this does not mean it cannot protect its own interests.”
„Wenn die Leute Angst vor Flüchtlingen haben und sie nicht in ihren Ländern wollen, dann sollten sie aufhören, Waffen nach Syrien zu schicken. Großbritannien macht das, genauso wie Deutschland, die USA, Russland und Frankreich. So lange man Waffen verkauft, ist man zumindest teilweise verantwortlich.“
The path taken by Europe concerns young people in particular as the decisions of today have a major impact on their future. They are not listened to enough. Over 40 students from different countries will actively participate in the European Angst conference.