chapter  13
10 Pages

The European house: museum and supermarket ACHIM PROSSEK

In 2004 a conference was held in Berlin entitled ‘A Soul for Europe’, taking a quotation from Jaques Delors as its motto. A soul for Europe is necessary, Delors once argued, because ‘no one falls in love with a single market’. Politicians, artists, academics and journalists discussed the presence and possible future of the European Union at a time of huge development: the enlargement of the EU by ten countries. It was assumed that the new phase of development of the European Union would be attractive for investors and inhabitants, but might be considered critically at the same time. The main criticism: The EU is still an economic and political project, rather than a cultural one. Therefore, culture became the focal point of the discussion. José Manuel Barroso, president of the EU Commission, said in his opening speech:

We need common ground and common reflection about what the EU can be, and what it will be cannot succeed without a proper look at Europe’s cultural dimension. [. . .] Europe’s true ‘cultural identity’ is made of its different heritages, of its multiplicity of histories and of languages, of its diverse literary, artistic and popular traditions. [. . .] The EU has reached a stage of its history where its cultural dimension can no longer be ignored.