30 fellows from across Europe met in Berlin in May to ponder a new European civics. Their shared conviction was that several key national challenges in Europe, as well as our responses to these challenges, have cross-border causes and consequences. We discussed prospects of inclusive economic growth and the trends around inequality. Daniel Gros argued that short prospects were better than generally assumed, but added that Europe did have a long term growth challenge. Branko Milanovic demonstrated that the winners of the last 20 years were the global elite and the global middle class, but its losers was the Western middle class. Ivan Krastev tied multiple treads, including these economic ones, into a compelling account of origins of populism in Europe. His argument was that emergence of populism was less worrisome than the inability of the anti-populism sentiment to materialize. The group of course discussed migration: Grete Brochman outlined what a health debate and policy around migration may look like, and Claus Offe confirmed that we can and we should approach migration with courage and conviction. To round all these discussions, we considered with Kalypso Nicolaides what teleology of Europe would serve us best. Nathalie Tocci set us up with the latest thinking about Europe’s role in the world.
Fellows are now working on synthesizing their views and analysis into a report. Our next and final stop is Strasbourg, where we will see whether we can respond to Secretary General Jagland’s challenge of more reflection, less reaction and a better conversation.