Bucharest, March 4th, 2020
Himself a recipient of the Coudenhove-Kalergi European Prize in 1998, Emil Constantinescu, President of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization participated in the awarding ceremony of this prestigious prize to the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis. President Emil Constantinescu’s presence at the event was an acknowledgement of his international efforts in the field of cultural diplomacy.
Within the European Union, there has been a constant preoccupation for the development of cultural diplomacy, seen as a form of foreign policy, according to the statement of former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The statement dates back to March 2016, in the framework of the launching of the EU Cultural Diplomacy Platform, meant to consolidate the European Union’s relation with third countries and their citizens. Preoccupations towards the implementation of cultural diplomacy within the European Union began in 2011, when the Preparatory Action for Culture in External Relations was launched, based on the Resolution on the Cultural Dimensions of the EU External Action, passed by the European Parliament.
A forerunner of cultural diplomacy, Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) argued, ever since 1923, in favor of the need to capitalize on the cultural dimension of Europe, towards the establishment of a project of continental unification. He developed the idea of a united Europe shortly after the First World War, as a counter measure to the totalitarian ideas of fascism, national-socialism and communism, specific of the time. The initiative of Count Coudenhove-Kalergi is among the first efforts made in the interwar period in order to build a form of European unification, focused on the political cooperation of states, along with the economic one. He also founded the Pan-European Union in 1923 and, through his ideas, he contributed to the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949.
The idea of a Pan -European Union was developed in his book, entitled ”PanEurope”, in which he presented it as an international pressure group, in order to prevent the decline of Europe and the modernization of the European political system. Coudenhove-Kalergi’s statements showed that there was a cultural Europe, present in some form or another, all over the other continents, but there was no Europe as a political entity. PanEurope was the name given by Coudenhove-Kalergi to the aspiration of building a political Europe, one that would be different from the geographical and cultural Europe. This project excluded Great Britain and Russia, considered to be significantly too peculiar to be included. The main function of PanEurope was to ensure peace. Peace could have been ensured firstly on an internal level, through the creation of a supranational structure based on mandatory arbitration and multilateral cooperation. Thus, one reduces the risk of border conflicts through minimalizing their importance Consequently, Cooundenhove-Kalergi anticipated several essential matters of today’s European Union, such as the Schengen Area. Secondly, peace could have been ensured on an external level through the creation of a PanEuropean security alliance, which would protect small nations from outside threats, especially from Russia. One’s hope was that a united Europe had to ensure a global balance that would lead to the implementation of a disarmament policy in the long term.
The Coudenhove-Kalergi European Award is among the most prestigious distinctions awarded every two years, starting with 1978, to those personalities which had significant accomplishments in the promotion of freedom and unity on the European continent. Among the recipients of the Coudenhove-Kalergi European Award there are: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (2014), Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council (2012), Angela Merkel, German Chancellor (2010), Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia (2006), Lennart Meri, President of Estonia (1996), Ronald Reagan , USA President (1992), Helmut Köhl, German Chancellor (1990), Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (1986), Sandro Pertini, President of Italy ( 1984), Constantinos Tsatsos, President of Greece (1980), Raymond Barre, Prime-minister of France (1978). In 2018, the Award was given posthumously to the Heavenly Hundred of the Euromaidan.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization shall sign a Cooperation Agreement with the European Society Coundehove-Kalergi.