Through its scientific research programme titled Recent history and the anticipation of the future, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization addresses an invitation to the academic milieu to jointly foster a debate on the national stage that could contribute to the elaboration of a Romanian vision for the Conference on the Future of Europe, an initiative of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The primary goal is to encourage high-level analysis capable of tackling the economic, social, cultural and educational issues the European Union is faced with today, and to facilitate the creation of viable strategy that can capitalise upon scientific and technological progress in a humanist perspective.
The first contribution to the national debate initiated by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization belongs to President Emil Constantinescu, during whose presidential mandate negotiations for Romania’s accession to the European Union were begun.
It seems that the challenges of these times are so urgent and important, that they often require us to formulate an answer before facing the signs of a future mostly defined by uncertainty. Meanwhile, however, the world around us changes quickly. To speak about how the European Union can stand before the third millennium is, above all, an intellectual challenge...
A historian and philosopher of culture, a Professor of Modern Romanian and European History, Victor Neumann has graciously accepted the invitation from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization to take part in the ongoing academic debate on the future of Europe. His research focuses on multiculturalism, interculturality and cosmopolitanism in the study of Central and Eastern European history.
Is the history of Europe the sum of its particular histories? Is there an antagonistic contradiction between the pacifist, cosmopolitan ideal of the Enlightenment and the national, separatist and romantic mythos? What is the interest of the national idea within contemporary European society? Have the consequences of twentieth century tragedies been surpassed? Is multiculturalism a policy of acceptance? How does the multi-linguistic and trans-cultural dialogue contribute to the definition of ‘European’? What does the undertaking of cultural ambivalences signify? Does Europe have a multiple identity? If so, what meaning does the concept of multiple identities carry? Is it necessary to reshape the concept of nation in the context in which the political ambition proclaims the unity of Europe?
Director of the Institute of Turcology, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca; member of the ISACCL Advisory Board; former Romanian ambassador to Azerbaijan (1998-2003) and Turkmenistan (2004-2007); winner of the "Nicolae Iorga" award of the Romanian Academy, Prof. Dr. Tasin Gemil accepted the invitation to participate in the academic debate on the future of the European Union, hosted by the platform of the Institute of Advanced Studies for Levant Culture and Civilization.
Prof. Dr. Tasin Gemil
In the 11th and 13th centuries, the Western-Christian and Eastern-Islamic worlds came into direct and systematic contact on multiple levels. More precisely, the development of complex and long-lasting processes pushed the two worlds towards each other. This had the most significant consequences for the destiny of all mankind. The modern world owes much more to the world at the beginning of the second millennium than is commonly believed. It is no exaggeration to say that without the great human convulsions from the first centuries of the recently ended millennium, the changes and progress of the following centuries would not have been possible, which are now regarded as the foundations of modern civilization.
Corin Braga is a university professor in comparative literature and Vice-president of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania. He is a Correspondent Member of the Academia de Ciencias de Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Member of the Academia Europaea, the vice-president of the Romanian Association of General and Comparative Literature and the vice-president of the Centre de Recherches Internationales sur l'Imaginaire (CRI2i). Lately he coordinated The Encyclopedia of Romanian Imaginaries, in five volumes (Polirom, 2020).
Although a geographically small continent, Europe has fostered, over the past millennia, the emergence of an impressive number of languages, cultures and civilizations. This constitutes its richness and also its challenge: how should all these local, regional and national cultural identities be harmonized and integrated, without destroying, but rather conserving and enhancing them? The concept of an integrated Europe, especially after the traumatic experiences of the world wars, is indeed active in the conscious and unconscious collective mind of the European peoples. This explains the success of the original plan of the founders of the European Union and the on-going process of adhesion and enlargement with countries from the former communist bloc and of other provenance.
University professor, with specialisations in contemporary philosophy and general logics acquired in Federal Germany and the US, Andrei Marga was the rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University who had the greatest number of mandates (1993-2004 and 2008-2012), thus ensuring the modernisation reform and the enrolment of the university in the international system. He was appointed as a consultant of cultural and university institutions in China, the Vatican, Germany, Hungary, Austria.
After the historical turn Europe took in 1990, the world witnessed a profound change in the direction of democratisation. A new change of the world happened around 2010, which resulted in a new geopolitical configuration. And following the 2020 pandemic, the world changes yet again, towards a direction given by the variable geometry of the superpowers.
The anticipation that the world has entered a cycle of continuous change was fully confirmed (details in A. Marga, Schimbarea lumii. Globalizare, cultură, geopolitică, Editura Academiei Române, Bucharest, 2013). Nobody can escape these changes that can fit within the biography of a generation.
Ambassador Luminița Odobescu, Permanent Representative of Romania to the European Union, has graciously accepted the invitation from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization to take part in the ongoing academic debate on the future of Europe.
The beginning of 2020 brought to the attention of Europeans a process of reflection and change through a large-scale campaign designed to foster the involvement of European citizens in the European project – the Conference on the Future of Europe. With the commencement of a new legislative calendar in Brussels, a new European Commission and a new European Parliament, the focus was supposed to fall on political priorities, such as climate change and a transition to green energy, digitalization, the multi-annual Union budget, consolidating cohesion, the role of the European Union on the world’s stage; but also, in the context of the Conference, on the involvement of the broader European society in the attempt to outline a more democratic, more inclusive European Union that was closer to its citizens than ever before.
Associate Professor Puiu Hașotti
Minister of Culture 2012
Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization
Professor Corin Braga
Dean of the Faculty of Letters, “Babeș-Bolyai” University,
Professor Valentin Popa
Rector of the “Ștefan cel Mare” University of Suceava
Romanian Ambassador to Italy
President of the Romanian Cultural Institute 2015-2017
Minister, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture (1991-1992, 2013-2014)
Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization
Culture, which has, in the case of Europe, Judaeo-Christian spirituality as its superstructure, represents the crystallisation of the entirety of human creativity, from the inventiveness of craftsmen to the great scientific discoveries or masterpieces of art and philosophical thought. That is to say, all that which Europe, over an enormous part of its history, has gifted mankind »»»
Professor Dumitru Miron
President of the Academic Senate, Bucharest University of Economic Studies
Professor Tasin Gemil
Institute of Turkology, “Babeș-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca
Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization
Professor Victor Neumann
Historian and cultural philosopher
Faculty of Letters, History and Theology at “Universitatea de Vest”, Timișoara
Professor Adrian Severin
Minister of Foreign Affairs 1996-1997
Member of the European Parliament 2009-2014
Professor Gheorghe Schwartz
Dean of the Faculty of Humanist and Social Sciences, ”Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad
Prof. dr. Ladislau Gyemant
Historian, specialist in the modern and contemporary history of Europe
The opinions presented above come as an answer to the open invitation to contribute to the debate, addressed to the entire academic milieu. They have been published in order of their reception.
A digital platform open to European citizens, where they are invited to express their ideas and suggestions on what the future European Union should look like, in an effort to collectively participate in the structural reform of the EU, the idea for the Conference itself first appeared in a peculiar context: the platform was initially scheduled to launch in May 2020, however, given that at the time the majority of European states were in a state of emergency lockdown owed to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided that the platform’s launch would be postponed to May of 2021.
The online platform went live as early as April 19th, and by May 9th 2021, the first official day of the ongoing Conference, it was already hosting approximately 10.000 participants, 2.400 proposed ideas, 3.500 comments and over 450 events either registered or planned – a clear sign that European citizens have taken their mission seriously and have begun launching ideas that might well lead to the creation of a greener, more strongly digital and, especially, more resilient Europe.
The Conference's first Plenary Meeting will be held in the near future, while the planned Citizens' Panels, organized on a region by region basis, will commence from autumn onwards.
The addresses occasioned by the celebration of Europe Day could not eschew the topic of a considerable effort, meant to breathe new life into the European Union: The Conference on the Future of Europe. Gathered in the plenary hall of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the representatives of all major European institutions, of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of Europe and of the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe expressed messages filled with hope in a brighter future for the EU, impassioned calls for unity and cooperation on avenues of shared interest, as well as calling for a more closer union in the face of crises and challenges, some of which are still affecting us today.
Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission
The Conference is not a panacea or a solution to every problem
We should be honest that the Conference is not a panacea or a solution to every problem. My view on this is that Europe has always been at its best when it is reverse-engineered. We are at our boldest when we first set an ambitious goal or have to act out of necessity – often without competence or precedence. This is the Europe that rises to the challenge: the Europe that just does it, because it needs to be done.
President of France
We need to become once again a community of major scientists, larger entrepreneurs, major artists, industrialists, because production, creating on our territory, is guaranteeing our sovereignty, protecting our model and our values
We need to breathe new democratic life into our institutions, and to build that confidence that we have in Europe amongst our citizens. I don't think that we will have a Europe that is up to its date in history unless we realise that we are not only a large consumer market, that we need to once again become producers. We need to become, once again, a community of major scientists, larger entrepreneurs, major artists, industrialists, because production, creating on our territory, is guaranteeing our sovereignty, protecting our model and our values.
President of the European Parliament
We need to move forward with this unprecedented exercise in democracy
Together, let's build a stronger, more resilient, more democratic and more united Europe. We have a need to move forward with this unprecedented exercise in democracy. Institutions and citizens, institutions and civil society, European institutions and national institutions all need to work together because another lesson in the crisis is that we are all part of the same whole. The European Union isn't only Brussels, it's national parliaments, it's national governments, regions as well, which are so important in the lives of our countries. Everyone needs to feel involved in this process and we want to work with them.
Prime Minister of Portugal
Representative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The conference on the future of Europe should focus on the women and men of Europe. What is troubling these people? What is making them dream?
This official launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe is a message of confidence in the future that we want to convey to all citizens of Europe. If we want Europe to have a future, then Europe needs to build on its strengths and needs to build on the strength of its citizenry. We need more than just certain parts. We need to ensure vast citizen participation. This is a key point. The conference on the future of Europe should focus on the women and men of Europe. What is troubling these people? What is making them dream?
From year to year, the European Union is becoming an actor that is extremely concerned about protecting the environment and mitigating the conditions that favor the emergence of the much-feared climate change. With the launch of the Green Deal in 2020, the European conglomerate is making consistent efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, involving the main areas of common policies in these actions: transport, energy and the environment. In an effort to achieve a sustainable economy, in which economic growth will no longer be coupled with the use of resources, and renewable energy sources will be used regularly, the European institutions are taking small but sure programmatic steps to manage these issues.