European identity, under discussion at UIC Barcelona
On 8 March, the Charlemagne Institute for European Studies and the Faculty of Law at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya organised a congress entitled “European Identity: Roots and Scope”. The event was sponsored by the European Parliament and the Catalan Society for Legal Studies.
The congress, which lasted all day, included four round tables in which discussion centred on exploring European identity from a legal, historical and philosophical perspective.
The participants also analysed whether there exists just one or more than one European identity. European identity was also examined from a legal point of view, with regards to human rights and the role of diversity and cosmopolitanism in the European Union (EU).
One of the conclusions drawn on a legal level is that the protection of human rights on a world scale is an inherent characteristic of the EU; an attempt to place human rights over and above the will of the states. Something that, in practice, does not always work out as it should, for political and economic reasons.
According to Dr Carlos Espaliú, director of the Charlemagne Institute for European Studies and vice-dean of the Faculty of Law, what compelled him to organise this congress is "the problem of terrorism, security and how to integrate people who think differently to us. I wanted to use this as the basis for examining Europe’s identity". As for Dr Xavier Gil, the rector at UIC Barcelona, in his opening address he affirmed that, as a university, “one of our missions is to shine a light and help provide solutions”, which is why the institution encourages activities that promote discussion on topical issues.