The second meeting focused on how European institutions and their decisions can acquire greater legitimacy in the citizens’ eyes. It was introduced by Matthew Loveless on whether EU citizens have a stomach for more ambitious EU-level policies, and Richard Bellamy on two proposals for enhancing the powers of national parliaments in EU decision-making. The discussion was opened by Adrienne Héritier.
To guide the steps of the European Union and to mobilise its citizens so as to make such steps possible, it is not enough to analyse the past and criticise the present. It is crucial to concoct concrete proposals for a better future and to subject them to a no-nonsense, multidisciplinary discussion. The Conversations for the Future of Europe aim to contribute to such a discussion.
A concern for concreteness and political feasibility should be present throughout, the aim being, as in Robert Schuman’s 1950 declaration, des réalisations concrètes rather than vague dreams. However, this should not prevent us from bearing in mind Max Weber’s warning at the end of Politik als Beruf: “Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible.” A concern for feasibility is compatible with boldness. Indeed, boldness may be required to move forward. In order to foster uninhibited common thinking, participants are invited to regard these encounters as if they were private conversations rather than public events.
In this series, each meeting will focus on one issue. It will be briefly introduced by two members of the EUI community or visitors, each with a proposal relating to the issue, and followed by a general discussion.