As part of the Dahrendorf Symposium, being held on 14-15 November in Berlin, EUROPP will be hosting a series of articles framed around the symposium’s topic: ‘Changing the European Debate: Focus on Climate Change’. To kick off the series, Dahrendorf Academic Co-Directors Helmut K. Anheier and Arne Westad outline some of the main issues surrounding this year’s topic.

Europe and the World: Climate Change and the Changing Political Climate

The European Debate is of particular significance as `Europe´ is at the center of the political and public discussion. Despite economic trouble, the European project is thriving: On July 1st the European Union (EU) welcomed Croatia to the ‘European family’.  By the turn of the year Latvia will adopt the euro and become the 18th member of the Eurozone. Negotiations of a free trade agreement between the United States and the EU started this summer and may eventually affect the life of almost 820 million people on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time, the EU and in particular the Eurozone is struggling to overcome the current debt and economic crisis. Financial turmoil and rising unemployment rates in southern European nations threaten the welfare of those societies and may seriously damage the credibility and viability of the European project in the long run. Moreover, Europe is facing global challenges:

How to prevent dangerous climate change?

How to manage the transition towards an economically and ecological sustainable global economy?

What role can Europe play in an Asian (or Chinese) century?

The Actor Capacity of the Union – always contested at the global stage – will become the focus of attention of the European debate as well as of the talks about the future of Europe. This series is dedicated to raising the most important and most inconvenient questions in the run up of this year´s Dahrendorf Symposium on November 14th and 15th in Berlin. Additionally, we seek to provide you a platform for a lively debate about the future role of the Union in world politics beyond 2013. Taking Lord Ralf Dahrendorf´s warning seriously, not to take seemingly comfortable policy frames and political positions for granted, we invite you to spark a controversial debate about the challenges, limitation and opportunities of the (post crisis) EU. “Constraints set limits to what can be done but do not determine what has to be done” Lord Dahrendorf wrote.  So, even when the current crisis seems to reduce the scope for political solutions, striking a new path for the European Project demands creative and brave thinking as well as intense public debate. We would like to encourage you to continue this blog debate, and in memory of Lord Dahrendorf, dare to challenge readily held beliefs and solutions which are taken for granted!

You can follow our coverage of the Dahrendorf Symposium on our dedicated page

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Note:  This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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About the authors

Helmut K. Anheier – Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
Helmut K. Anheier is Dean and Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

Arne Westad – LSE
Arne Westad is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Director of LSE IDEAS.

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