Europe, our home?
Class of the Humanities
Mark Eyskens, Marc Maresceau
The future of Europe was the focal point of the Spring Symposia 2017 organised by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.
An intense and innovative cooperation among European States within the framework of the European Communities, leading to the establishment of the European Union, has for decades brought security and economic progress to the European continent. Currently, however, the Union and its mission are under great pressure, while valid alternatives are lacking.
During three afternoon sessions, organised on 25 April, 2 and 9 May, important topical questions related to the European project were introduced by prominent speakers, academics and decision-makers from a historical, legal, economic and political perspective.
Attention is first given to how European cooperation and integration could take root so surprisingly rapidly after the Second World War and what visions were the driving force of the Founding Fathers behind the new European model. Afterwards, the objectives and functioning of the Union, as they result from the basic treaties, in particularly the Lisbon Treaty, are analysed. In this respect, specific attention is also devoted to the key role of the European Court of Justice.
Over the years the process of European cooperation and integration was often one of trial and error. In the Lectures, pivotal issues of the recent past are discussed such as the enlargement of the Union to 28 Member States, with still a number of candidate States in the enlargement waiting-room, the German unification, the introduction of the euro and the banking crisis.
Also today, the Union faces great challenges such as for example its relationship to the rest of the world. In particular, the asylum and migration crisis, Brexit and the relations of the Union with Russia, Turkey and other neighbours are addressed.
At the closing session. Mr Herman Van Rompuy, former President of the European Council, will present his concluding remarks.