Six years ago Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida led a group of intellectuals in calling for a common European foreign policy. Their appeal was a response to the political rifts that had formed between EU member states in the run-up to the war in Iraq. In January of 2003, the Bush administration began distinguishing between “Old Europe” and “New Europe” – between those who rejected the war and those who supported the U.S.-led coalition. The rhetoric was intentionally polarizing, but it also unmasked real fault lines created during the Cold War. The controversial debate triggered by the Habermas-Derrida initiative was ultimately about if and how these differences could be overcome.
Today, the political situation looks quite different. A new U.S. President is in office, an economic crisis threatens the world, and in Europe the Iraq War is generally seen as a humanitarian and strategic disaster. Yet the question of Europe’s political unity remains open.
The aim of the workshop “Old and New Europe revisited” is to take up this question once again. How divided are the countries of Europe – among one another as well as vis-à-vis the United States? Are the differences of opinion based on historically conditioned views or realpolitische considerations? Are there common values that can create a shared European identity, as Habermas believes? Values such as the separation of Church and State, social justice, and human rights?
Konzeption: Susan Neiman, Potsdam
Teilnehmer: Vladimír Handl, Prague; Adam Krzemiński, Warsaw; Dominique Moïsi, Paris; Diana Pinto, Paris; Pierre Schori, Madrid; Karsten D. Voigt, Berlin