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A Soul for Europe
Monday, 25 April, 2016 @ 19:30 - 21:00£5
With a European Union membership referendum pending we are delighted to welcome Ben Ryan. Ben is a Researcher at Theos, the religion and society think tank. He holds degrees in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge and in European politics from the LSE. He is the author of the Theos reports A Very Modern Ministry: Chaplaincy in the UK and A Soul for the Union.
The European Union is in crisis. The crisis in question is a hydra, a beast with many heads, each of which have the potential in their own right to prove fatal. The ongoing economic crisis, particularly as expressed in a few debtor countries (and, most prominently, Greece), the refugee crisis, the democratic deficit, and the spectre of a UK referendum, each seem to have the potential to break the whole Union.
The specific debate in the UK over the European question has been illustrative of a general trend across Europe, with arguments focusing almost entirely on technical issues, and with an underlying assumption that the single real measure on which to measure Europe is economic. This approach, though particularly prevalent in the UK is one that has been growing across Europe for some years, and is quite unlike the priorities and assumptions that shaped the earlier European project.
Ben’s report charts the development of the European project, from its origins in 1950s Christian Democracy, with a strong focus on solidarity and peace, through to its current period of crisis. It argues that today’s EU has lost sight of its founding principles and instead placed excessive focus on a particular conception of national economic performance.
Ben argues that this is a weak basis for political union. A union worth saving would be on stronger ground if it could develop a clearer, explicit moral purpose that resonated with its citizens. Perhaps more simply, if the EU is going to be worth saving it needs to discover a soul.Share: