19 April 2024

Lluís Foix, Anna Terrón and Jordi Xuclà reflect on the past, present and future of Europe

The Sala de Graus of the campus hosts the colloquium 'Vigència del somni europeu', moderated by Santi Vila, Professor at the Facultat de Filosofia La Salle

The current political context and the proximity of the upcoming electoral appointments demand the need to reflect through the voice of experts, academics and opinion leaders, and this is what the colloquium 'Vigència del somni europeu' did, organized by La Salle Barcelona - Universitat Ramon Llull. The debate focused on a continent represented politically by the European Union, with a complex past that is reflected in the phrase quoted by the journalist Lluís Foix at the beginning of his speech: "Europe is the homeland of memory".

Knowing where we come from, to understand where we are and analyze where we are going, this was the guiding thread of a round table that featured prestigious speakers: Lluís Foix, journalist and writer; Anna Terrón, Senior Fellow Migration Policy Institute; and Jordi Xuclà, President of the Consell Català del Moviment Europeu. The moderator was Santi Vila, professor at the Facultat de Filosofia La Salle.

During the session, many topics were discussed in a complex reality, that of Europe, which all the participants in the debate know well. The Dean of the Facultat de Filosofia, Carles Llinàs, gave a brief welcome to the attendees and then gave the floor to the moderator, Santi Vila, who emphasized the expert nature of the guests, and the need to reflect and debate in "times of charged and tense atmosphere".

The event served to understand what Europe is and how it is constituted. Anna Terrón opened the first round of interventions affirming that "the European Union is a historical construction as are all the political forms we know" and insisted on the defense of democracy by the European system, beyond mechanics in decision-making, which is often perceived as far from the conception of democracy that society has at the local level.

A look at the continent's past

Jordi Xuclà and Lluís Foix agreed to take a retrospective look at history in order to explain the current moment. Xuclà appealed to the "Never again" born of the Second World War to claim peace and insisted on the usefulness of the European Union: "We don't notice it because we carry it very integrated in our day-to-day life, but there are aspects which have greatly improved our lives: free mobility, common currency, cooperation between countries, etc.". Foix warned that "the most normal thing in Europe is war" and that the period of peace that has been experienced is "because we are armed".

The journalist explained the validity of the European dream: "Europe's great success is coexistence, culture, sharing the same civilization that manifests itself in very different ways." And a repeated message, the coexistence between different people: "What does a Finn, a Maltese or a Portuguese have to do with each other? They differ on many things but they have European civilization in common".

The rise of extremism dominated much of the conference, and all the speakers agreed that democracy is the only defensible system. "Don't forget history, look at history", warned Foix, while Xuclà recommended visiting places like Auschwitz or Sarajevo to understand the past, and Terrón said: "Between authoritarianism and democracy, we must always choose democracy".

Europe: the imperfect democracy

All three agreed that democracy is imperfect, and that democracy has mistakes, but it must always be defended before a supposedly effective authoritarianism. "The European dream is to avoid repeating everything that has happened, and we do it through culture, law and respect for each other", concluded Lluís Foix.

When it was time for questions, the students demonstrated the critical thinking that is cultivated in the campus studies, questioning some of the points that had been expressed by the speakers. Doubts about the policies of the European Union, questions about a supposed shared civilization or skepticism about cooperation between countries, are topics that hovered over the colloquium, and to which the speakers responded by referring to their own experiences and knowledge.

In the final stretch, and following a question from a Ukrainian student about the situation in his country, a question from Anna Terrón silenced the Sala de Graus: "What would you like to read tomorrow in the newspaper about this topic? ”, to which he replied: “That the war is over”. A shared thought, an idea that reflects the central theme of the colloquium. What is the European dream? The peace.