“Do we see the future of the European Union as an alliance of nation states or a union of closely integrated member states? It is an important question for Europe, as the rise of nationalism has been a much-debated trend over recent years. In times, it has come hand-in-hand with anti-EU sentiment, populist and extremist views. Nevertheless, there should be no either-or choice between being a European and being an Estonian,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the conference opening.
According to the Prime Minister of Estonia, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is right in claiming that Europe is now facing two major changes – becoming a digital society and climate change. “Like with climate change there is a sense of urgency to act. Europe can only lead when she herself is a leader in digital and not a follower. The first Tallinn Digital Summit, held on 29 September, showed that the leaders of the European Union think alike in this regard,” said Ratas.
According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, although the European Union is very much united by virtue of shared founding values, one another’s differences are respected as well. “We must find a balance between new and conventional, risky and safe, economic, social and environmental, big and small, north and south, east and west,” said Ratas.
The conference 'Nation States or Member States? Reimagining the European Union' brings together leading scientists, members of think tanks, policy makers and journalists, who will discuss the development of Europe in current, complicated times. The participants shall ponder whether the closely integrated European Union is about to end, will Europe survive the populism, can Europe still be held together by the shared economy and what the future of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, Turkey and Ukraine will be.
The keynote speakers of the conference include the former Prime Minister of Italy and judge of the Constitutional Court of Italy, Giuliano Amato; and the director and professor at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and Director of the Global Governance Programme at the European University Institute in Florence, Brigid Laffan. The conference is moderated by Marek Tamm, a professor at Tallinn University.