The European GSI School is an annual event, organised by the Gustav-Stresemann-Institute in Bonn. Partner-institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are involved and have been supporting the Summer School for many years.
Crossing borders is sometimes a most difficult job. Which border would you abolish immediately?
Filip Lukic: Borders are a much broader concept than just a physical obstacle or construct that divides political communities. They have a symbolic and social meaning as well.
While their existence symbolizes differences and exclusion, the process of abolishing them that has taken place in Europe in the past few decades represents affiliation and unity. That unification has not been only political and economical but also proves historical and cultural belonging to the modern European democratic society.
The border that I would abolish immediately is one that divides the Western Balkans region from the rest of Europe. Even though the evaporating of such a border would be a huge step out from a comfort zone, both for the WB countries and the EU, bringing many challenges, I truly believe that there is no alternative to the integrated WB. While the EU has a moral responsibility to accept the region and to prove its commitment to the fully united and stable Europe, the WB countries have to show their honesty and will to accept core values of the club they are joining in.
WB as a part of the EU is a historical, cultural and political necessity that ensures safety, prosperity and stability of the continent. Furthermore, it will be the end of the irreversible unification process that made Europe the most substantial economic space, the third biggest population and unique political project.
Creating the future needs priorities: What is the most important task the EU is facing in the next years?
Filip Lukic: Besides a comprehensive internal reform that should make the Union more consistent and united, the main task that the EU has to address in the future is the protection of its core values.
Fake news, illiberal tendencies and rise of populism have altered political life in Europe and people's perceptions regarding the future path that continent should follow. While dissatisfaction with the austerity measures in Southern Europe provided initial ground for populism to flourish, Hungary and Poland used migration crisis to secure the surveillance of such tendencies in Europe. Apparent deterioration of independent institutions, media control, political pressure on the judicial system, threats against journalists are some of the fundamental characteristics of the populist regimes that have shown that not all political actors in Europe understand modern democracy in the same way.
However, it seems that the EU, scared to provoke more instability in the continent after Brexit, missed the chance to loudly condemn those political actors and stand up to defend the core values. Therefore, I believe that the main task the EU will face in the next few years will be finding the strength to be united and decisive in the protection of its fundamental principles. It is not just about making the EU more consistent, but also proving to the citizens of the EU that key democratic values are an intrinsic part of the community that nobody has the right to violate and relativize.
Crossing borders: The European Union and the candidates
14.9.2019, 12.00 in Bonn