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









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

Entrance free





10:00 – 10:15

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

Nina María Jurisch, on behalf of the initiators

Jacques Rupnik, Václav Havel Library, Prague


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 - in particularly in a system without a joint currency. Where do Euro-sceptics have a point? Are they right in questioning the EU’s democracy? Are´nt 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: Dany Cohn-Bendit (D), Hubert Vedrine (F), Ulrike Guérot (D), György Dalos (HU), Jon Worth (GB)

Host: Wolfgang Herles (D)

11:45 – 12:00 Coffee Break

12:00 – 13.30

Europa 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 the poor? “Savoir vivre” and “savoir faire”: What is Europe about?

Panellists: Angelo Bolaffi (IT), Elina Makri (GR), Linn Selle (D)

Host: Ulrike Hermann (D)


13:30 – 14:30 Lunch break
14:30 – 15:00

 Speech: Volker Schlöndorff (D)

15:00 – 16:30

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 (US, PL), Priya Basil (GB), Bill Drozdiak  (S) Peter Schneider (D)  

Host: Sergey Lagodinski (D)



16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break

17:00 – 18:30

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 they are based.

Panellists: Ralf Fücks (D), Michail Schischkin (RUS), Taras Yemchenko (UA)

Host: Frank Herterich (D)
18:30 – 19:00 Coffee break
19:00 – 20:30

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: Dany Cohn-Bendit (D) Viktor Jerofejew (RUS), Amanda Michalopoulou (GR) Jacques Rupnik (F)

Host: Daniela Schwarzer (D)



20:30 Closing words:  Joachim Fritz-Vannahme  (D)





Héctor Abad, Colombia

Jakob Augstein, Germany

Hassaan Bin Shaheen, Pakistan/Great Britain

Hans Christoph Buch, Germany

Camille de Toledo, France

Christian Felgenhauer, Germany

Joachim Fritz-Vannahme, Germany

Ulrike Guérot, Germany

Wolfgang Herles, Germany

Frank Herterich, Germany

Isabell Hoffmann, Germany

Nina Jurisch, Germany

Necla Kelek, Turkey/Germany

Ivan Krastev, Bulgaria

Andrej Kurkow, Ukraine

Jan Macháček, Czech Republic

Carmela Negrete Navarro, Spain/Germany

Steffen Noack, Germany

Jurko Prochasko, Ukraine

Thomas Rietzschel, Germany

Sonja Katharina Schiffers, Germany

Karl Schlögel, Germany

Peter Schneider, Germany

Ulrich Schreiber, Germany

Daniel Tkatch, Kazakhstan/Germany



»The Idea of Europe« is the key topic of the kick-off debate on May 2nd.


is the leading idea of the congress to be held in september.

It will address the following issues:


18 09 2014


Under the Spell of Populism?


Imperfect or Impossible?


Can Europe live with its Discrepancy? What does it offer to its young?


19 09 2014


Secular Republic and Multicultural Society —

On the Limits of Multicultural Tolerance


where and how are they defended and who is standing up for them?


how to defend them against post-imperial aggression and how against unleashed financial markets?


Retreat to the Nation State or Advance towards the United States of Europe?


Amendments according to political developments will be inevitable.



Haus der Kulturen der Welt

John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin

Take a chance with more Europe — the EU needs dedicated citizens!
2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. The trauma of the Great War and of the Second World War, which was unleashed by Germany, gave the initial impetus for a united Europe.
The dream of a democratic and united Europe was brought tangibly close through the peaceful revolutions in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet empire.
Today, a quarter of a century later, we have to ask ourselves whether this dream has reached its end. The European democracies find themselves challenged by Russia, which doesn’t shy away from the use of force in revising the system of peace and freedom that was established in the early 1990s. The financial and debt crises have shown the institutional and political limits of the EU and the monetary union. It is not yet clear whether Europe will master these challenges.
To the contrary, lack of courage is pervasive: Pressing issues are not even being addressed. Political elites prefer to placate. Meanwhile, the doubts about Europe are growing among its citizens. Right-wing and left-wing populists scent their opportunity, anti-Europe parties, who propose to retreat to the nation state, receive increasing support. It would be a bitter irony of history, if the European Idea, which was strong enough to bring down the iron curtain in 1989, would lose steam during the current crises.
We say: No, our dream of Europe is not over! The European Idea is not exhausted by a monetary union. It stands for freedom and democracy, the rule of law and the dignity of human beings. This idea must be defended against post-imperial aggression and neo-authoritarian regimes, just as it must be defended
against unrestrained financial markets.
The current crisis also entails an opportunity. It becomes increasingly clear that the Euro can only survive within political institutions that take rapid steps towards a Political Union. And only on this basis Europe will achieve the ability to act united in foreign affairs, which is required to hold its own in a globalized world.
More, not less Europe is our rallying cry.
More Europe, as we demand, is integrally connected with more democracy. European unity cannot be reached by a rapid succession of summit meetings – behind the backs of citizens, as it were. The European project is not limited to the Euro and is not the exclusive domain of political and administrative elites.
Issues that impact the existence and future of every single citizen must be discussed within a broad public decision-making process. We need new political discourse and action. Not mollification advances Europe, but public dispute. An open discussion is also needed about the different experiences with regard to the role of nation and self-determination which the people of Eastern and Western Europe have made in recent history.
Hence, »Dispute over Europe« is the title of the congress, which will be conducted in 2014 in two sequences: The Kick-Off Event will be on May 2nd, 2014 in Berlin at »Haus der Kulturen der Welt«. The Follow-Up Event will be on September 18th and 19th, 2014 in Berlin at the same venue.
The Initiators: Hans Christoph Buch / Daniel Cohn-Bendit / Ulrike Guérot / Frank Herterich / Nina Jurisch / Steffen Noack / Peter Schneider / Ulrich Schreiber


Realisation in Cooperation with:            
Bertelsmann Stiftung Logo_Bertelsmann.jpg



Allianz Kulturstiftung Allianz Kulturstiftung_normal.jpg



BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt log_BMWStiftung.jpeg



Václav Havel Library




Haus der Kulturen der Welt Logo HKW

With the support of:

Auswärtiges Amt
auswaertiges amt.jpg



Media partners: Café Babel cafebabel-berlin-sq.jpg



The European 













Idea and Initiative: Hans-Christoph Buch, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Ulrike Guérot, Frank Herterich, Nina Jurisch, Steffen Noack, Peter Schneider und Ulrich Schreiber.

The congress "Dispute over Europe" is an event of the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kunst und Politik in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Allianz Kulturstiftung, the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt and the Václav Havel Library. It is supported by the Auswärtiges Amt.