Open interviews "From the European Point of View": Who can be considered the bearer of European values today?

Open interview with Marcus Ederer, EU ambassador to Russia. 19-00, September 24, 2018, Blagosfera centre

It is commonly believed that European values comprise the most valuable concepts, which have been worked out by the mankind up to the beginning of the 21st century, like freedom, equality, human rights, market, and rule of law. At least these concepts form the foundation of the European Union and are stipulated by article 2 of the Lisbon treaty. However, what does it actually mean to be the bearer of these values today? Are these values shared by all those who live in Europe? Where are the borders that separate Europe and European way of thinking and being from all others? Who defines these borders? What does it take to be a European these days, who wants to be a European and who can be regarded one in the modern world?

The European Dialogue expert group sets off a round of discussions on the eternal subject of whether Russia belongs in Europe. We start this round with an interview with Markus Ederer, EU ambassador to Russia, on defining European identity and transformation of this identity. Markus Ederer was born in Bavaria, he holds a degree of a Doctor of Laws and is a diplomat with excellent background and many years of experience in the German Foreign Office. Before he was appointed ambassador to Moscow he was an EU’s representative in China and Mongolia.

In recent years the Old World faced a string of new challenges from the inflow of refugees to right-wing populism, from Brexit to separatist sentiments brewing right inside Europe. All these troubles may indicate a crisis of both the European integration project  and common European identity, or on the contrary, they could have originated from insufficient integration and failure to align values of various social groups including those that are geographically located outside Europe. To rectify these problems in both cases we will have to comprehend and reimagine if necessary the idea of the European way of thinking and being, redraw the borders of this concept or eliminate them altogether. Finally, it is worth working out whether the borders of the European civilisation should include Russia or not.

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This round of open interviews is held under the project titled «From the European Point of View». The project is carried out by the European Dialogue expert group and is supported by Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The project is carried out in partnership with Blagosfera, Moscow centre for charity and social activism development. Snob magazine, unique forum for discussing the future of both Russia and the world is providing coverage for the project. In our next interviews will meet Theodor Shanin, Irina Prokhorova, Svetlana Aleksievich, and other experts, politicians, and social activists. Follow the news in social media and on our website