The Costs of Non-Europe and the European Integration Project
CefES International Workshop
The Costs of Non-Europe and the European Integration Project: Economic, Legal, and Political Opportunities and Hindrances
5 October 2023, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
The Covid-19 pandemic first and Russia's invasion of Ukraine successively have recently been an important test for the European project. EU collective action has proven successful in fostering the overall resilience of the EU system by reinforcing Member States' health systems and improvements to the energy and defense sectors. The green transition will further require significant investment efforts in EU Member States consistent with the modernization of the production and consumption patterns necessary to achieve the decarbonization targets set over the next thirty years. Additional challenges are posed by the digital transition, with reference not only to production and labor markets but also concerning market structures, competition, ethics, media freedom, and democracy. These challenges are also not disconnected from the current geopolitical turmoil. Europe faces different options, i.e., the status quo, strategic, collective action, and fragmentation. The workshop aims to assess the economic, legal, and political opportunities and hindrances to further progress in the European integration process.
The workshop's first session provides insights into the potential benefits of EU-level legislation in several areas, including the rule of law, digital finance, artificial intelligence, workers' protection, legal migration, and gender-based violence. The cost-benefit analysis of Brexit three years later is further informative of the value of pursuing the European integration process for societal prosperity versus fragmentation. This analysis is most important considering the contagion effects that such voter-endorsed withdrawal from the EU has exercised in other core EU Member countries, such as France, Italy, and Spain.
The workshop's second session focuses on the concept of European identity, as reflected in the same attitudes to life of EU Member States, based on a determination to build a society that measures up to the needs of the individual, and that defends the principles of representative democracy, of the rule of law, of social justice, and of respect for human rights. The European Parliament, on various occasions, has stressed that Europe's tragic past should serve as a moral and political inspiration to face the challenges of today's world. European remembrance has slowly become strategic for the future of the Union and its integration process. The workshop's second session assesses whether a different culture of remembrance in Eastern and Western EU member countries may threaten a common European identity and the integration project based on EU values.