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Europe or Not! Multiple Conversations and Voices

With Alberto Martinelli, Vittorio Cotesta, Nadia Urbinati and Alain Touraine


Monica Simeoni

Europe is in crisis and the EU project risks disintegration. The refugee and Brexit issues, as well as recent events in Turkey, demonstrate how serious matters really are. In a EurActiv interview, in February 2016, Edgar Morin, the French sociologist and philosopher, speaks of a «planetary crisis» and the need «to change civilisation» in order to respond to the complexity of today’s world. Furthermore, the drama of terrorism, a new phenomenon for contemporary western democracies requires serious reflection regarding jihadism and its radicalisation.

These are but some of the issues addressed during the multiple conversations held with the three sociologists, Alberto Martinelli, Vittorio Cotesta and Alain Touraine and with the political scientist, Nadia Urbinati. All the interviewees are leading experts on European issues and institutions, as well as on democracy put to the test currently by rampant populism in almost all the EU countries. Alain Touraine fervently holds that «it is madness» not to want a united Europe at a moment when we need a new political and economic project capable of defeating the nationalism, walls and separation between states that now seem to prevail.

Europe finds itself in a dramatic position: it must choose innovation and construction, or disintegration, with all the unpredictable consequences this may entail.

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Alberto Martinelli: Europe: integration or disgregation


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First conversation with Alberto Martinelli1

Europe: integration or disgregation

The European project for a “common home” seems to be in a state of crisis. Europe is acknowledged more and more as a problem and not as a positive resource. What are the reasons underlying the growth of Eurosceptic and Europhobic feelings found in some of the parties that sit in the European Parliament?

The first cause is, undoubtedly, the economic recession, which is part of a series of crises, lasting for over seven years now and which began with the US financial crunch, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, which rapidly globalized due to the close interconnections existing between the financial markets of the world, followed by an economic downturn in Europe which has continued as stagnation after a short-lived recovery, then by the sovereign debt crisis of the Eurozone Countries affecting the weaker economies (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy). Finally high unemployment rates (particularly among the young and women) occurred, with risk of deflation and shrinking domestic demand, not offset by increases in exports to a world market increasingly difficult to conquer due to the increasing competitiveness of the large emerging economies like China, India and Brazil. The European Union’s institutions are unable to implement an effective common strategy capable of overcoming the crisis because of increasing differences between member Countries (northern and southern, western and eastern, members and non-members of the Eurozone) and the different positions their governments...

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