It’s been a rollercoaster year. In fact, it’s probably been one of the most important years in the history of post-war Europe. With the flames of revolution taking hold in neighbouring countries along its southern border, the project of European integration finds itself suffering from a crisis of a magnitude unprecedented in its 60-year history. Suddenly, the idea of a collapse of the European Union is being discussed openly as a real possibility. Likewise, moves towards re-opening the treaties and establishing “fiscal union” are being seriously considered (things that would have seemed mad even six months ago).
This has been the context, then, that the Debating Europe project has been working in. There’s a a sense that real change is about to overtake the EU, and we feel it’s been a valuable exercise to provoke a debate between policy-makers and citizens on some of these issues. Over the past several months, we’ve interviewed over one hundred politicians, academics, business leaders and experts. You’ve sent us in over 1000 comments, questions and ideas to put to them. We’ve had responses from MEPs, national MPs, government ministers, prominent academics, even a prime minister and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy!
We’ve looked at all sorts of issues: from whether Europe should abandon nuclear energy to what should be our attitude to globalisation and the changing world around us. The dominant topic, however, has been the Eurozone crisis, the proper response and the best way to avoid it happening again in future.
The crisis, alas, does not yet appear to be over. The question of whether or not the EU will survive will not be answered this year. Now, however, is time to take a short break and prepare for the year ahead. It’s been a rollercoaster year, and Debating Europe will return in 2012. Thank you all for your contributions and ideas, and for helping to make Debating Europe such a success. We’ll be back to continue the debate from 9 January 2012.