While we were drafting the paper of the MESSINA/TAORMINA CONFERENCE ON 10 IDEAS FOR A 21ST CENTURY EUROPE (based on Vision 10 ideas for Europe), the continent was confronting its greatest crisis since 1945, a crisis that not only promises to accelerate the pre-existing technology-driven mutations that have been overthrowing mainstream practices and assumptions but could also produce disruptive transformations in its own right. 

As this still new crisis has been unfolding, it has become clear that the covid-19 pandemic has the potential to radically remake the fundamentals both of the European Union and of the whole Western European way of life. It could do so in a dramatically constructive way. Or, equally, in a dramatically destructive way.


The European Commission’s decision to propose an ambitious, unprecedented plan for recovery (the 750 billion euro NEXT GENERATION EU) which will be financed by the European Commission own resources is certainly the sign that COVID19 has triggered a sense of urgency which we never experienced before. However, the EU needs more: it needs objectives and decision making mechanisms which can bring a great 20th century project in the new century.

Moreover, the pandemic has exposed fundamental weaknesses in what Europeans thought was their main strength. Despite believing that they live in the portion of the globe that enjoys the highest quality of life, the most developed welfare and some of the best health-care systems, in fact many European countries – notably Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands – have been the worst hit in terms of casualties and cases, and now have to face a huge welfare burden with broken public finances.

History teaches that after the global wars of the twentieth century, new “world orders” have been crafted: the one conceived in 1919 after the first conflict around the “League of Nations”, was less successful than the one drafted in 1948 and culminated in the foundation of the UN, the IMF, the NATO and, ultimately, in Europe, of the European Economic Community (EEC) as the embryo of the current European Union.

We believe that time has come for a new start.

Sixty-five years ago it was a conference in MESSINA to decide the creation of the institutions (the EEC and the EURATOM) which paved the way to the ROME treaty.

In 2020, the think tank Vision together with TAOBUK has called a 3 days meeting – on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th October - in MESSINA/TAORMINA where thirty intellectuals, policy makers, journalists, historians and visionaries has been gathered to generate and discuss some ideas which may trigger a debate on the future of EUROPE with the objective to provide a contribution to “crafting the future”.

The conference was based on a Concept Paper redacted by Vision and structured in accordance to the Agenda.

Part of the Conference has been dedicated to solving events held in Taormina and Messina where conference speakers has continued the debate on the future of EUROPE with selected samples of public opinions and citizens (university students; entrepreneurs; majors from European cities). 

Below the new Messina manifesto and the conclusions of the three tematic Working Groups.

Here the videos of the Plenary Sessions:

Among the participants:

Stefania Giannini (Assistant Director for Education, UNESCO and former Minister for Universities, Research and Education in Italy), Bill Emmott (Author of the FATE of the WEST and former editor of The Economist), Antonella Ferrara (President and Founder TAOBUK), Sebastien Maillard (Directeur Notre Europe, Institut Jacques Delors), Romano Prodi (Former Prime Minister of Italy and Former President of the European Commission), Paolo Gentiloni (European Commission for Economy and Former Prime Minister of Italy), Giuliano Amato (Judge of Italy’s Constitutional Court, Former Prime Minister and Former Vice President of the Convention on the Future of Europe), Elvira Terranova (Journalist Adnkronos), Luciano Fontana (Editor of Corriere della Sera), Maria Costanza Cau (Researcher, VISION), Nicola Saldutti (Editor-in-chief Economy, Corriere della Sera), Mario Nava (European Commission DG REFORM – Director General), Cleo Li Calzi (Professor Leadership Management, LUMSA University), Francesco Lapenta (Founding Director of the John Cabot University Institute of Future and Innovation Studies and Mozilla-Ford Research Fellow), Carlos Moedas (former European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and Member of the Advisory Board of the “Futures of Education” Initiative), Paola Bonomo (Former Principal McKinsey, Vice Chair Italian Angels for Growth), Koert Debeuf (Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Europe), Fabio Masini (Jean Monnet Chair for European Economic Governance, Roma Tre, Secretary of the European Federalist Movement), Sandro Gozi (Former Italy’s Minister for European Affairs and MEP elected in France), Kalypso Nicolaidis (Professor of International Relations and governing body fellow at the St Antony’s College – European Studies Centre, OXFORD University), Xuē Xīnrán (Writer of The Good Women of China and Journalist), Matthew Caruana Galicia (Investigative Journalist, MALTA), Franziska Brantner (Member of the Bundestag and leader of Alliance 90/ The Greens), Stefania Baroncelli (Professor Public and European Union Law at Free University of Bozen-Bolzano), John Hooper (Italy and Vatican correspondent of The Economist), Michele Geraci (New York University and head of Italy – China workforce), Elizabeth Strout (Pulitzer Prize 2009), Alexandra Borchardt (Head of Digital Journalism Fellowship Hamburg Media School, Senior Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford), Lorenzo Fioramonti (MP and ITALY’s Former Minister for Schools, Universities and Research).

New Messina Manifesto

In Messina, 65 years ago, the founding countries decided to “make” Europe (and the European Economic Community). After 65 years, perhaps the time has come to renew the dream. Vision's paper proposes an approach, priorities and ten specific ideas that can fuel the debate - in Messina / Taormina and in the coming months - and promotes a new manifesto.

Here the new "Messina Manifesto". 

Here the italian version of the "Messina Manifesto"

Working Group 1: Global Digital Platforms as the Raison-d’etre of 21st century
Working Group 2: The Next Generation EU and a Pragmatic Approach to Multiple Integrations
Working Group 3: Europe as a Laboratory for transnational policies and ideas to save liberal democracies
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