Europe is a journey, not a destination, and is in a state of constant becoming. Convulsed by wars, revolutions, and plagues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the long walk towards a Europe where people can live side by side in freedom and in peace continues today. Europe is much broader than the European Union, and can be defined not just by history and geography but also by a set of shared values: equality, solidarity, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, liberty. The point about the European Union is that we seek through our institutions to incorporate these values into the structures and conventions that govern our daily lives. We can distinguish three key stages in the evolution of the European Union – Europe 1, the Europe of nations and states, Europe 2, the Europe of markets and money and Europe 3, the Europe of cities and citizens.
In this talk, Roger Casale, will take us through these three stages of the EU’s evolution, reflecting on the actors and key milestones that have left their mark on the development of our European demos. Looking to the future, the challenges Europe faces are both exhilarating and terrifying. They go to the heart of our identity, and sense of what it means to be a citizen. The biggest task we face is how to make the outsiders, insiders, overcoming inequality and injustice. That means resisting the pressure to close rather than keep open our borders, including the borders of hatred and prejudice in our minds.
We are also all called on to play our part in combating climate change and to adapt to new and challenging technologies which are revolutionising how we live and the world of work. The need for a collaborative, constructive and consensual approach to building the future of Europe together has never been greater and the project of co-creating Europe is an idea whose time has come. Citizens have found their voice and are at the cutting edge of the transformative changes Europe needs to take us on the next step of our journey. It’s time for us all to stand up and make a difference. By doing so we can all find new meaning and resilience in a deeper understanding of what it means to say “I belong.”