TAORMINA / MESSINA CONFERENCE: EUROPE BEYOND THE UNION IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

Looking for the ideas to kick off a debate on the future of Europe in the 21st century.

Link to the Concept Paper.

Link to the Tentative Agenda.

Europa

While we were drafting the paper of the MESSINA/TAORMINA CONFERENCE ON 10 IDEAS FOR A 21ST CENTURY 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 is calling a two days meeting – on the 2nd and 3rd October - in MESSINA where thirty intellectuals, policy makers, journalists, historians and visionaries will gather 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 will be followed by problem solving events to be held in the following days (4th, 5th and 6th October) in TAORMINA where conference speakers will continue the debate on the future of EUROPE with selected samples of public opinions and citizens (university students; entrepreneurs; majors from European cities).

So far confirmed speakers are:

  • Bill EMMOTT (former editor of THE ECONOMIST)
  • Stefania GIANNINI (former minister for school, universities and research in Italy and current deputy director of UNESCO)
  • Sandro GOZI (former ITALY’s minister for European Affairs and amongst the very few MEPS elected outside his own country)
  • Kalypso NIKOLAIDIS (Professor at ST ANTONY’s COLLEGE at OXFORD UNIVERSITY)
  • Natalie NOUGAIREDE (former editor at LE MONDE and now at THE GUARDIAN)
  • Romano PRODI (former Prime Minister of Italy and European Commission President)

Press:

Corriere della Sera 15 luglio 2020

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