Peaceful, prosperous, democratic and respectful of people's rights, building Europe is an ongoing challenge. For many years it seemed that Europeans lived on a continent of shared values and a common destiny. No one paid attention to the alarm bells warning of growing divisions across the continent, which have become more insistent since the economic and social crisis. Europe and its values, previously taken for granted, are now being contested.
These clouds are casting a shadow across Europe's future, and old demons, long dormant, have started to raise their voices again.
With a deepening values divide there is an urgent need for public debate and a reconsideration of how Europeans can strengthen the European project. Is a "Europe united in diversity" still feasible? Can a consensus be forged on a set of values pertaining to a common European identity? What should be done to preserve European unity?
The Council of Europe, with its membership covering Europe from Vladivostok to Lisbon and from Reykjavik to Ankara, and its mission to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, provides an excellent framework for discussing the current state of thinking and dynamics behind the concept of European identity.
For these reasons, the Council of Europe, together with the École nationale d'administration in Strasbourg, held a series of European Identity Debates featuring eminent personalities from a variety of backgrounds including politics, civil society, academia and the humanities.
This publication presents the 10 European Identity Debates lectures.
The authors identify major issues and challenges and provide an original analysis of different aspects of European identity within their fields of expertise. The authors formulate proposals on how to better understand the multifaceted nature of Europe, what it means today to be European, and what should be done in terms of ideas and strategies to keep Europe dynamic and to build a sustainable future.