The Constellation of Europe
The summer course is dedicated to the political dynamics of Europe and between Europe and other regions and powers, all of which shapes the current constellation of relations and tensions within the states and between individual states or regions. It is characterized by deep tension between globalization and regionalization, cosmopolitanism and nationalism, the defence of federalism and withdrawal to the nation state, and, finally, between enlightened criticism and fundamentalism.
The course concentrates on the following aspects:
- Crises and crisis-ridden phenomena in Europe, such as the Euro and the economic crisis that led to tension between North and South and to conflict between economic solidarity and egoism;
- the legitimacy crisis of traditional political parties, notably the Social Democrats, and of the EU since 2008 due to the increase in youth unemployment and poverty;
- the EU as a political project has stagnated since the referenda in EU member states, which had already rejected the proposed European constitution prior to the outbreak of the crisis. The decline in the legitimacy of the EU has since then led to tension between growing disengagement of the population, on the one hand, and the necessary economic and political deepening, on the other hand;
- the so-called refugee crisis and the rise in populism and nationalism both in European states and between several EU states, the Visegrad countries, and the EU;
- the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Crimea, the power vacuum in the Middle East, the upswing in Turkey’s rebuffing of Europe, the withdrawal of the USA from world politics under Trump, and the expansion of China – all trends that evidence the current European inability to engage jointly in more active European foreign politics;
- the cultural tension between humanism and fundamentalism, clearly visible in the relativization of scientific truth, the repudiation of gender politics and unrestrained racism and anti-Semitism.