Colloquia on the "Finalität Europas"

The European Convention's draft-proposal for a new EU constitution has not yet been passed - while the problems that the new rules were intended to address still remain.  Above all, an expanded EU tackling specific issues requires a suitable institutional ordering.  All decisions in this regard hinge on important preliminary questions such as the ultimate goals of European integration and the form that this integration will eventually assume - the question as to the "Finalität Europas."

But this particular question goes beyond the present constitutional discussion. European unification as overseen by the Convention can be understood as a social process that throws up questions as to the future of political, cultural and social identities and frontiers in Europe and the kinds of conflicts that will surely result from these shifts. At the same time, the colloquia are concerned with Europe's "foreign relations," with preserving its societal standards in a globalizing world, and with Europe's responsibility to developing countries.

The Wissenschaftskolleg's interdisciplinary series of colloquia on the "Finalität Europas" is in parallel with European discussion of a constitution and was initiated by Dieter Grimm together with Peter Glotz and Karl Lamers. Joining them are scholars and politicians from various countries who meet so that they may learn from one another and broaden expertise in their respective fields.

The first colloquium at the Villa Vigoni dealt with three main issues:

1. Europe's Role in the World

If Europe is to make a "contribution to a better world" (Lamers), it must examine its relationship with its neighbors and with the Third World. In particular, a position must be taken with regard to European responsibility for settling conflicts throughout the world. It is urgent that we establish criteria for military intervention in other regions. The question as to the basic values underlying the European Union will be part and parcel of this debate. Policy must also be formulated with regard to those states bordering on the European Union or having an especially close relationship to it, states such as Turkey, Russia, Israel and those of North Africa.

2. The Constitutional Problem

Of far-reaching importance is the question as to whether a constitution or a treaty should serve as legal basis of the European Union, this determining whether the European Union retains the form of a loose confederation or becomes a (federal) state. There is the pressing question as to whether a constitution can fund a hoped-for European identity and effect integration as well as permit future reform of the Union should it be deemed necessary.

3. The Relationship between the Market and the Welfare State

The welfare state can be seen as a central feature of the European model. At the same time, the social systems of the individual European states are so various that there would be strict limits set to any attempt at merging them in a single uniform system. The question as to how the welfare state - this peculiarly European institution - can be stabilized by the EU as such leads to a series of fundamental questions regarding Europe's constitutional form. Principal aspects to be considered are the relationship between internal and external politics, between unity and diversity, and the role of the welfare state in relation to the service and private sectors.
Discussion of these themes led to a second meeting in January 2003 at the Petersberg Gästehaus, near Bonn, which was taped by WDR and televised by the TV station Phoenix. 

At the instigation of several of its American Fellows, another discussion took place on 17 July 2003 at the Wissenschaftskolleg addressing the topic "Europe and America after the Iraq War." This war has led to deep divisions of opinion between the U.S. government and "old Europe" as well as within Europe itself, between its governments, intellectuals, and in the print media.

Part of this discussion was taped and telecast on 23 July 2003 at 2:45 p.m. by Phoenix in cooperation with ARD's Berlin studio.

On 13 January 2004 a new discussion was conducted, this time on the topic of "Core Europe," and Phoenix broadcast it on 17 January at 10:15 p.m. and on 18 January at 5:00 p.m. The discussion addressed the following questions:

The European constitution treaty has for the moment failed, and it is not clear when the next attempt will be made. This makes even more important the question of a "core Europe" whose integration would be swifter than that of the Union as a whole. German-French cooperation is central to this idea. The fact that President Chirac speaks to the other European governmental heads in Chancellor Schröder's name is a symbolic act in the debate about new EU structures, both leaders thereby demonstrating how closely aligned their two countries are. Some member states place their hopes in the German-French initiative, while others fear it. Should the path toward a core Europe be taken? Will it foster European integration or will it shatter the Union? Will it strengthen or weaken Europe's role in world politics?

Participants in our round of discussions were
(in various combinations):

  • Bruce A. Ackerman, professor at Yale Law School
  • Elmar Brok, member of the European Convention and the European Parliament
  • Yehuda Elkana, rector of the Central European University, Budapest
  • Peter Glotz, professor and director of the MBA's Media and Communication Program at St. Gallen University
  • Dieter Grimm, rector of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and former judge on the German Federal Constitutional Court
  • Mats Hellström, former Swedish ambassador
  • Jacqueline Hénard, journalist, guest fellow at the Centre d'Etudes et des Recherches Internationales (CERI), Paris
  • Adrienne Héritier, European University Institute, Florence
  • Stephen Holmes, professor at New York Law School
  • Jürgen Kocka, president of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung
  • Stephen Krasner, professor at Stanford University
  • Karl Lamers, former member of the German Bundestag
  • Joachim Nettelbeck, secretary of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
  • Claus Offe, professor at Humboldt-Universität, Berlin
  • Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, member of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt/Main
  • Fritz Pleitgen, director of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne
  • Andrei Plesu, rector of the New Europe College, Bucharest
  • Fritz W. Scharpf, emeritus director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung, Cologne
  • Ezra Suleiman, professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris, and director of the European Studies Program at Princeton University.
  • Alain Supiot, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Nantes

This series of colloquia is supported by the Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung, the Marga and Kurt Möllgaard-Stiftung in cooperation with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, and the Zeit-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.