20th Karlsruhe Dialogues - Speakers
The PEGIDA-Complex: Legitimate Concerns, Racism and the Centre of Society
1. In your opinion, what are the values that unite the European Union? How can a joint European identity be better fostered in the future?
For a long time I liked the comparison: Europe’s West and East are like a pair of lungs. After 1990 I was also able to understand just how different the Anglo-Saxon-influenced Europe and the Romanic-influenced Europe are from one another. A common European identity cannot arise when one part tries to impose its way of thinking. Europe is a wonderful idea whose supporters are expected to bow to it on a daily basis and to rejuvenate it through a perpetual process of communication and rapprochement. The temptation of an economically strong Germany lies in its wanting a German Europe; its task, however, is to integrate as many others as possible and to respect everyone. Russia remains Europe’s moral and political challenge, and Europe cannot evade her.
2. Are alternative models – such as a multi-speed Europe or a European Federation of Regions – conceivable?
Yes, of course. In politics – which as everyone knows is man-made – everything possible is always conceivable. My desire, admittedly, is different: for the European Union to remain unified in the current crisis, to work out a viable compromise, and to provide the world with an example of political intelligence.
3. Do you think that the current nationalist tendencies are a short-term phenomenon caused by recent crises; or do they represent the beginning of a long-term development?
Something that has developed over a long period of time will not disappear in a short period of time. The nationalist aspirations will continue to gain political ground if political solutions on the European level continue to be elusive.