Richard Bellamy

6.30-8.00pm | Wednesday 7 May 2007
U8, Tower One, LSE

Richard Bellamy, Professor of Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy, University College London Website

Damian Chalmers, Professor in European Law, European Institute and Law Department, LSE

The formation of the European Union has raised new questions about European identity and new problems about citizenship. Can the idea of ‘European citizenship’ really be applied to the inhabitants of the diverse collection of nation states grouped in the EU? Can the EU really be a democratic institution? Is more democracy good for the EU, and is it effective for its ‘citizens’?

European Identity in Question

Until recently the self-understanding that dominated Europe was fundamentally ‘Eurocentric’. Europe’s rational-technical-scientific culture was regarded as unproblematically superior to other world cultures, and its value was accorded universal human significance. The mission of ‘we Europeans’ was nothing short of the world-wide-isation of the European world.

Today that self-understanding seems old. And yet ‘we Europeans’ of today can hardly be said to have found a new vision to replace it. We lack a clear view of what it means to be European.

It is in response to the profoundly uncertain situation of contemporary European identity that four cultural and academic centres in London, the Institute of Philosophy (University of London School of Advanced Study), the Forum for European Philosophy (London School of Economics), the Goethe Institute and the Institut Français, have come together to host a special series of discussions with some of Europe’s leading thinkers to explore central questions related to this theme.