28 August 2006

"From identity to European integration"

Last week I was a participant at a unique summer school. It was organised by Asociace pro evropské hodnoty/the Association for European Values and held in the beautiful setting near Chotěboř, Czechia.

The lecturers were about the best the Czech scene could provide. To start with, we had the political scientist Rudolf Kučera of the Caroline University, Prague talking about the European legacy left by the ancient Greece. Radim Marada, the sociologist of the Masaryk University, Brno analysed the concepts of the modern European demos and the European civic society. The ex-politician Pavel Bratinka examined the much disputed notion of European cultural borders. Josef Zieleniec MEP, the former Czech Foreign Minister, laid down his vision of the Union's institutional reform, desperately needed to satisfy the calls for more legitimate and transparent EU. Karel Kovanda, Deputy Director General for External Relations of the European Commission, introduced us to the daily work of the Commission, and emphasized how much it would be facilitated should the EU go federal. Jan Kohout, the Czech ambassador to the EU, explained the challenges facing Czechia in regards to taking up the European Council Presidency in 2009. Michael Žantovský, the Czech Ambsassador to Israel, warned us about the dangers of multiculturalism.

Elmar Brok MEP once stated: "To identify oneself with the aims of the European integration process is a question of reason. To identify oneself with the European ideal, and the values behind it, is a question of heart." I feel that many fellow federalists fail to comprehend this; they suppose Europe can enlarge endlessly beyond its cultural borders. The stay in Chotěboř strengthened my hope that the young Czech generation will not allow the project of united Europe to be ruined that way.

Addition: The weekly Reflex reported on the summer school here. So did the online mutation of Hospodářské noviny.