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Federalism and Europe

May 25, 2012


Dear friends, in the name of the Václav Havel Library please allow us to inform you about the conference “Federalism and Europe”, which takes place on Tuesday 19 June from 9:15 at New York University Prague, Richtrův dům, Malé náměstí 11, Prague 1.

Following an opening address by the political scientist Jacques Rupnik, we will look back at a speech Václav Havel made at the French Senate in 1999 in which he considered the possibility of Europe being organised on federal lines and called for the creation of a second chamber at the European Parliament.

The introductory section will be followed by the first panel, entitled Federalism and Europe. The speakers will consider the theoretical and practical presuppositions of federalism and will raise questions such as: What is European federalism and what form should it take? How do centralisation and integration relate to a federal model? Is federation necessarily political union? And what are our experiences of the federal system?

A second panel will focus on the institutional crisis of the EU, with participants considering the advantages and disadvantages of a federal Europe. They will discuss questions like: Is the need to set up a second chamber of the European Parliament, as Václav Havel suggested, a lesson of the current situation? If it came to pass, would it improve the institutional composition of the EU, or would it lead to even lower trust in the EU in the eyes of citizens of member states?

After addresses by the speakers, each panel will provide sufficient time for a discussion with those in attendance. The entire conference will take place in Czech.

Among those who sat on the conference’s programme committee were Petr Drulák, the director of the Institute of International Affairs, constitutional law expert Jan Kudrna of Charles University’s Law Faculty, and the director of New York University Prague, Jiří Pehe.


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