European Disputes






 The “Idea of Europe” was the focus of the first debates in May 2014. “The world in motion: what next, Europe?” will be the topic of the "European Disputes" on November 7, 2014 at the Staatsbiliothek zu Berlin.


“The world in motion: what next, Europe?”

Discussing "Europe" can no longer mean to exclusively focus on the consequences of the European Parliament elections, on ways of implementing democracy in the EU or the different possibilities of cooperation between European nation states. Today, we also have to ponder on the dynamics of global developments - including Putin's attempt to draw new borders and the re-design of transatlantic relations between Europe and the USA- as representing challenges to the European value system. Answers to these questions are manifold and contradictory, nonetheless they need to be heard in order not to leave them to populists or political and administrative elites reaching decisions behind closed doors. We appreciate a culture of public debate with citizens, intellectuals and politicians about the conflicts and potentials of Europe because we are convinced that appeasement and evocation do not help Europe get any further. What we need is an open and public discourse.


European Disputes

November 7, 2014

Otto-Braun-Saal of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Potsdamer Strasse 33, 10785 Berlin



Entry free




Ulrich Schreiber, President of the Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics

Nina Maria Jurisch, on behalf of the initiators

Jacques Rupnik, Václav Havel Library, Prag



After the elections – where does Europe stand?

Panel 1

Is Europe still a place to dream of? Until recently, Europe seemed to be a refuge for peace, freedom and well-being. However, things have changed since the Euro-crisis. Furthermore, we are facing new challenges in the South, the East and the Middle East. The EU has become a contested union: is it the solution or rather the problem, as populist parties claimed successfully during the European election campaign? Either way, their opinion-making had its effect: If England is to opt out of the EU, the balance between continental and Atlantic Europe, between state- and civil-societies in Europe will remain fragile. And Germany would gain dominance - particularly in a system without a joint currency. Where do Euro-sceptics have a point? Are they right in questioning the EU’s democracy? Aren't democratic deficits the reason for the alienation between EU citizens and Brussels? What if right-wing and left-wing populists joined forces, making the disrespect of democratic values, such as in Hungary or Russia, a daily business all over Europe?

Panellists: Daniel Cohn-Bendit (D), Ulrike Guérot (D), György Dalos (HU), Hubert Védrine (F), Jon Worth (GB)

Host: Wolfgang Herles (D)
11:45–12:00 Coffee break


Europe and its South - Freedom, Equality, Wealth? 

Panel 2

Dividing Europe into economic “role models” and “black sheep” is becoming the breeding ground for those who call for less Europe or even its end. But questions remain between austerity, growth and debt policy: how can Europe integrate its North and its South according to the principles of self-responsibility and solidarity? What needs to be done if France, back then the “European engine”, looses its economic strength? How should we react to massive youth unemployment and the resulting emergence of a "lost generation"? Is Europe implementing its economic and social policies at the expense of future generations? What about our striving for freedom and equality in a Europe divided into rich and poor? “Savoir vivre” and “savoir faire”: What is Europe about?

Panellists: Angelo Bolaffi (I), Elina Makri (GR), Michaele Schreyer (D), Linn Selle (D)

Host: Ulrike Herrmann (D)

13:30–14:30 Lunch break


Speech by: Volker Schlöndorff (D)


Europe and the West - European values, globalization and the USA

Panel 3

The planned free-trade agreement between the USA, Canada and the EU has triggered a new debate about the differences between the transatlantic partners. These differences not only refer to the issue of GMO. It has long become evident that the US-American and the European models of capitalism differ. The cultural values enshrined by these capitalisms, it seems, differ too. After the 9/11 shock in the USA, the NSA has almost become a state within a state. We don't know about the ramifications a similar attack in Europe would have on European attitudes towards the secret service. For the time being, thousands of European citizens are fighting for their right to privacy. The hysteria that often accompanies debates about these issues in Europe might also include an element of anti-Americanism. On the other hand, US citizens ask - in view of the divided German reaction to Putin's solo efforts - whether Germany's long and successful way into the West has ended. Both the USA and European democracy have to answer the question about how much they are willing to pay for defending their freedom.

Panellists: Anne Applebaum (USA, PL), Priya Basil (GB), William Drozdiak (USA), Peter Schneider (D)  

Host: Sergey Lagodinsky (D)

16:30–17:00 Coffee break




Europe and its East - Ukraine, Russia and the European order of nation states

Panel 4

It was hard to believe: First, a citizens' movement, the Maidan, brought down a rotten regime and managed to turn the Ukraine towards Europe. "We are witnessing the birth of a nation", said a well-known philanthropist and currency speculator enthusiastically. But the "Empire strikes back", and Europe is puzzled: Are these the pains of a mortified global power, or is it a fundamental, cultural and social turning away from Europe and the West? What are Russia’s objectives? A "cordon sanitaire", new territories for a "New Russia", or perforated frontiers and neo-imperialist dominance in the post-Soviet sphere? When Putin depicts the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest disaster of the 20th century", we may understand that more is at stake than the Ukraine. It could be a matter for the European peace order of free nations that came into being in the wake of 1989 as a result of the decay of the Yalta system that had previously divided the continent. This is also about the European Union and its capacity to protect this order of free nations and the values on which it is based.

Panellists: Ralf Fücks (D), Jacques Rupnik (F), Michail Schischkin (RUS), Hans-Henning Schröder (D), Taras Yemchura (UA)

Host: Frank Herterich (D)


Coffee break


The Future of Europe - forwards, backwards or different?

Panel 5




The success of populist parties during the last European elections has at first glance strengthened the forces that consider the European project as represented by the EU to be wrong or even fatal. However, what do the so-called "EU sceptics, critics and opponents" want? Are they truly against Europe, or are they instead protest voters whose concerns and worries (refugee problems, fears of relegation, loss of control) are being ignored by their representatives in Brussels? Is the option of a Europe of nation states economically and politically viable? Or are we anyway on our way towards becoming the United States of Europe? How can we defend the European idea as an extraordinary model of civilization against untamed financial markets, neo-authoritarian regimes and post-imperialist aggression?

Panellists: Daniel Cohn-Bendit (D), Joachim Fritz-Vannahme (D), Marc Jongen (D), Viktor Jerofejew (RUS), Amanda Michalopoulou (GR),

Host: Daniela Schwarzer (D)





Anne Applebaum, USA / Poland

Priya Basil, Great Britain

Angelo Bolaffi, Italy

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Germany

György Dalos, Hungary

William Drozdiak, USA

Joachim Fritz-Vannahme, Germany

Ralf Fücks, Germany

Ulrike Guérot, Germany

Wolfgang Herles, Germany

Ulrike Herrmann, Germany

Frank Herterich, Germany

Viktor Jerofejew, Russia

Marc Jongen, Germany

Sergey Lagodinsky, Germany

Nina María Jurisch, Germany

Elina Makri, Greece

Amanda Michalopoulou, Greece

Jacques Rupnik, France

Linn Selle, Germany

Michail Schischkin, Russia

Volker Schlöndorff, Germany

Peter Schneider, Germany

Ulrich Schreiber, Germany

Michaele Schreyer, Germany

Hans-Henning Schröder, Germany

Daniela Schwarzer, Germany

Hubert Védrine, France

Jon Worth, Great Britain

Taras Yemchura, Ukraine



in cooperation with:

Bertelsmann Stiftung









European Alternatives

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Václav Havel Library





with support of:


Auswärtiges Amt

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media partner:

Café Babel




The European 





ParisBerlin - Magazin für Europa



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tip berlin Tip Berlin


Idea and Initiative

Hans Christoph Buch / Daniel Cohn-Bendit / Ulrike Guérot / Frank Herterich / Nina Jurisch / Steffen Noack / Peter Schneider / Ulrich Schreiber

The »European Disputes« are an event of the Peter-Weiss-Foundation for Art and Politics in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Václav Havel Library and European Alternatives. It is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.