For a New European Social Contract
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30 October 2018

The new EUNIC Brussels conference cycle questioning the future of Europe

Building on EUNIC Brussels previous initiatives “European Angst” and “Sweating for Europe”, the project, made of 4 panel discussions, has the ambition to rethink a social contract which would take into account the peculiarities of our world today. The panel discussions aim to look to the future of Europe, using concepts of “protection” and “care” as a basis.

The ambition of the project is to rethink the social contract, so that it no longer relies on the relationship between citizens and the state but goes beyond this by taking into account the different dimensions of life today and the crucial issues citizens are facing: security concerns versus personal privacy, of the Welfare state and social rights, building an inclusive society that goes beyond divisions, care for the aging population, opportunities for the next generation, and preservation of natural environment. These issues have begun to be addressed at the European level: the 2018 European parliamentary agenda aims to “deliver new and more effective rights for citizens. It appears thus, of great importance to further enable discussions with academics and practitioners in order to bring critical and well informed opinion to a wider audience.

 

Security vs. Privacy

The series of events will launch on October 30th, 2018 at 6pm at the House of European History on the theme of “Security vs. Privacy”.

The development of networks and digital communities blurs distinctions between privacy and selfdisclosure. In a context of ‘state emergency’ measures as well as personal data surveillance, how could citizens’ rights be preserved? What about social media? How free speech is protected when the frontier between public and private lives become blur? Is the European Union protecting our privacy enough? How is the EU doing this?

Kimmo Rousku is a broad-based digitization researcher, non-fiction writer and ICT expert, with over 30 years of information and cyber security expertise. He has extensive experience in state administration, and over the 9 last years he has specialized in developing information, digital and cyber security, risk management and data protection, and developing and utilizing the potential of digitalization in the public sector. He currently works at the Population Register Center of Finland as the General Secretary of the Government Information Security Management Board (VAHTI).

Bénédicte Rey is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Belfort Montbéliard (UTBM) in France. Author of La vie privée à l’ère du numérique (Privacy at the digital age), her research at RECITS lab (Research in industrial, technological and scientific choices) focuses on behaviours and technologies.

Marta Peirano is a Spanish writer, journalist and long-time advocate for citizen privacy, government transparency, digital security and community based infrastructure. Recently, she has been the Culture and Technology editor at Spanish national newspaper eldiario.es. Member of multidisciplinary collective Elástico, she is also the co-director of COPYFIGHT festival and cofounder of CryptoParty Berlín. Her most recent book, El pequeño Libro Rojo del activista en la Red (The Little Red Book of Online Activism) is an essay about the impact of digital surveillance, with a foreword by Edward Snowden.

The discussion is moderated by Karl van den Broeck, a Belgian journalist and essayist. In charge of the Culture column for the Belgian daily De Morgen for twenty years then editor-in-chief of Knack for six years, he is now the editor-in-chief of the news website Apache.be and a conference and debate organiser at BOZAR.

 

Identities and Communities

“Unity in diversity” may be the EU’s motto but its translation into reality is not easy. In the last two decades, the concept of multiculturalism has come under attack in political and academic discourse for destabilizing national identity. Also, the attempt to build a “European Community” is perceived by many as a threat to the “national community” or to the nation-state.

Identity is becoming more complicated and multifaceted and nowadays, with greater mobility and the internet, communities are transcending national borders. This was also enhanced by decades of flux of migration in Europe.  A number of questions arise over emerging forms of identities and communities which we aim to address in this panel:

Why is multiculturalism often no longer perceived as enriching our societies?  Is there a distinct role for both the State and civil society? Can communities around Europe start a real dialogue with each other and understand each other’s views as a solution to living in a diverse society? What are the mechanisms to achieve that?

Also, the EU has created a community based on laws and values. Is it realistic or desirable to go beyond this legal sphere and strengthen cultural bonds between countries?

Mohammed Ali Amla is a project manager, consultant, Cohesion and Integration Manager at Kirklees Council, the founder of Radical Dialogue and Christian Muslim Encounters and trustee for Solutions Not Sides.

Altay A. Manço is a doctor in social psychology at the University of Liege (Belgium). He has done a lot of work in the areas of educational psychology and social integration and the psycho-sociology of immigration, especially Turkish.

Malek Boutih is a former French politician, member of the Socialist Party since 1986. After studying law and journalism, he engaged in social action by taking part in the March for Equality and Against Racism (more popularly known as the “Marche des Beurs”).

The moderator Victoria Martín de la Torre is a Spanish author and journalist working as a press officer for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament since 2008.

 

Rethinking the Welfare State

With the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, laws were progressively implemented to protect the labour class. Two centuries later, it is reasonable to wonder about the future of our Welfare State system. Will our social rights be preserved in the future? What about our growing elderly population: will they be treated with care and dignity? And what about the young generation? With the aging population in Europe, who will finance the welfare states? What about innovative forms for providing care for the weakest, such as social enterprise?

Dávid J. Szabó is the Director of Research at the Századvég Foundation.

Demos Helsinki is an independent think tank specialised on societal problems and challenges.

Chiara Saraceno is an Italian sociologist and philosopher specialised on Welfare States studies.

The discussion is moderated by Karl van den Broeck.

 

Humans and their Natural Environment

Our world has entered into the new era of “Anthropocene”: human activity leaves a real footprint on earth and is even now the main force that drives the evolution of our planet. How can we preserve sustainable living conditions for us and our environment?

Luisella Battaglia is an Italian professor of Moral Philosophy and Bioethics.

Catherine Larrère is a French philosopher specialised on environmental ethics.

 

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