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20-21 OCTOBER - XII International Forum of the Aquileia Euro-Region
20-21 OCTOBER - XII International Forum of the Aquileia Euro-Region In a recent interview, ambassador Sergio Romano said that: “It may sound paradoxical, but the Iron Curtain, which neatly identified two areas of influence, guaranteed peace and stability to Europe. The fall of the Berlin wall ended up calling it all into question”. As a matter of fact, soon after that Western Europe – better said, the Euro-Atlantic region – strived to extend its “influence” on former Warsaw Pact countries, west Balkan countries and the Caucasus, even reaching territories that with regard to history, culture and religion might be considered part of Holy Mother Russia. However, the leading role for this enlargement of NATO was not played by the European allies, but rather by allies from across the Atlantic. Having to face a difficult internal situation triggered by the implosion of the Soviet Union, Russia barely reacted, pursuing – at least officially – a Euro-Asiatic policy rather than adopting revanchist attitudes as a consequence of its broken leadership. Europe was once again divided into two: a Euro-Atlantic region and a Euro-Asiatic region. Unfortunately, in addition to this discomforting result, several other factors contributed to the impossibility of a virtuous continental recomposition:
- Political fragmentation caused by the progressive and exponential formation of new countries;
- New internal divisions between northern and southern Europe, virtuous countries and PIGS, old and new Europe, EU and non-EU countries, Eurozone and non-Eurozone countries, etc.;
- Ever-widening gaps in political views (especially on immigration, austerity, citizenship, etc.) and growing euroscepticism;
- Worrying social alarm, particularly threatening in certain regions;
- Stateless virtual currency;
- Frail and inconsistent political structures.
The dream of Europe’s founding fathers Adenauer, De Gasperi and Schuman thus appears to have come to a deadlock, trapped between the West and the East.
In this respect, Vladimir Putin’s remarks were emblematic: “Hitler’s reckless adventure became a tough lesson for the entire world community. Today, history calls again to our wisdom and vigilance,” adding that “We have seen attempts to establish a unipolar world”. Among other things, these words follow reactions – sometimes of military nature – to “US expansionary provocations” in Georgia and especially Ukraine, sparking conflicts which the West has proved to be unable to evaluate, manage or resolve. The West was accused of breaking the fundamental principle of respect for national sovereignty with its military attack on Serbia in 1999, and of coming up with George W. Bush’s idea of pre-emptive war to justify its military intervention in Iraq. In this context, Europe has no voice. And when it tries to have a say, a deafening and piercing chorus of regional individualisms is all it is heard. Balancing national interests with attempts to reach deeper integration seems increasingly difficult, and member States are all more reluctant to concede key aspects of national sovereignty. The crippling economic crisis did the rest.
To address and ponder on these topics means to discuss our future, and it is essential to do so by involving political, diplomatic, social, economic and cultural institutions, together with European institutions, representatives of European macro-areas and regions, universities and experts from all Central-Eastern European and Balkan countries.
Mitteleuropa would like to thank in advance the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the CEI-Central European Initiative, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the CRUP Foundation, and all those who will support and participate in this forum in various capacities.




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