A room with a view: Europe and the sea

Greek Business File, November-December 2018, No. 118
By G. Prevelakis


The so-called “poly-crisis”, testing the reflexes of Europe, was the topic of the 2nd Conference organised under the Europe in Discourse initiative, which was held in Athens. Discourse analysts, linguists, historians, economists, sociologists and other scholars and researchers shared the belief that the time is now appropriate to talk about the European project by offering fresh and realistic thinking on how to deal with the challenges facing Europe


“The theme of our second meeting is again Europe in discourse. The academic approach requires us to analyse the various discourses concerning the theme of Europe, to criticise these discourses and to search for the political and other objectives hidden behind them. However, this year’s conference is not purely academic. It is also policy oriented, since it is about “Agendas of Reform”. ’The time is now appropriate to discuss solutions rather than problems‘, we read in the conference announcement. We must therefore ask ourselves what discourses can promote the European project. This discussion cannot start from a fixed image of Europe. The discourse and its object are interlinked: the one influences the other. Looking for the appropriate discourse implies also inquiring into the subject. No discourse can support the European project if it does not correspond to reality, whether created or projected. The European problems of today cannot be treated as a simple matter of communication.

A few months before the fall of the Berlin wall, Jacques Delors announced: ’You cannot fall in love with markets‘. He pointed out that the European project had to be inspiring if it was to succeed. In retrospect, this statement appears both paradoxical and prophetic. In 1989 everybody was ‘in love with Europe’; so why worry? Today however, three decades later, our main problem seems to be the emotional rejection of the European idea. While we are still struggling to absorb the shock of Brexit, Euroscepticism is growing and centrifugal forces are developing. At the same time, the United States of America, the main force behind European integration in the past, is expressing resentment more and more.

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