Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies
Institut d'Etudes Européennes et Internationales du Luxembourg
in cooperation with:
Représentation au Luxembourg
Représentation au Luxembourg


Europe in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

18-19 May 2012, Jean Monnet Building of the European Commission, Luxembourg

Mikhail Gorbachev, Andrei Grachev and Armand Clesse
Mikhail Gorbachev, Andrei Grachev and Armand Clesse

On 18 and 19 May 2012 the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies and the New Policy Forum (Gorbachev Forum), in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Luxembourg and the think-tank Notre Europe, organised an international conference on “Europe in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities”. This event was attended by about 50 participants and over 300 observers. At the opening session, the keynote speakers expressed rather divergent views on Europe’s recent political developments and options for the future.

In his speech Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the USSR who heads the New Policy Forum, criticised the political evolution of the European Union since the end of the Cold War. Without Russia, Gorbachev believes, the unification of Europe remains a myth. He deplored that Europe has followed the Washington Consensus instead of developing an alternative model of its own. In the current crisis that resulted from this consensus, Europe needs to invent a new societal model opposing the excessive consumption and the lack of ecological and social responsibility.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Viviane Reding
Mikhail Gorbachev and Viviane Reding

Michel Rocard criticised that when dealing with global problems like climate change, the financial crisis or nuclear arms, solutions are sought at the nation state level instead of looking for extensive international cooperation. The former Prime Minister of France expressed pessimism about Europe’s role in the world. In the current “poly-crisis”, as he puts it, Europe’s influence seems to be waning.

Viviane Reding, the Vice-President of the European Commission, did not share this pessimism. In her view every time the EU has gone through a crisis, this has resulted in the Union making another great leap forward. She insisted that Europe’s citizens deserve to be listened to and suggested that European political parties nominate candidates for the post of President of the European Commission who is subsequently elected by the European Parliament.

Download the Executive Summary of the Conference:

Programme (389.42 kB)
Main Panel

Watch the opening addresses and the panel discussions:

Opening addresses

Mikhail Gorbachev
Michel Rocard
Viviane Reding
François Biltgen
Fred Matser

I. Plenary session: Challenges

Panel 1: Threats to the prevailing political and socio-economic consensus

Panel 2: The eurozone crisis

II. Plenary session: Opportunities and possible solutions

Panel 1: A new institutional framework for future Europe?

Panel 2: A pan-European political and security community

II. Plenary session: Europe facing the world

Panel 1: EU and the wider Europe

Panel 2: Europe’s New Frontier: going East and South?


The videos are hosted by:


Pierre Sorlut, La Grèce au cœur des préoccupations, Paper Jam, 18 May 2012.


Olivier Landini, Nous pouvons aider l'Europe, Le Quotidien, 19 May 2012.


Les citoyens veulent voir des actions, Lëtzebuerger Journal, 19 May 2012.


Guy Kemp, Auf der Suche nach einem neuen Europa, Tageblatt, 19/20 May 2012


Download article (219.09 kB)

Jakub Adamowicz, Abtasten neuer Horizonte, Luxemburger Wort, 21 May 2012.


Pablo Chimienti, L'Europe vaut bien un débat, Le Quotidien, 21 May 2012.


Olivier Tasch, «L'Europe est un empoisonnement», Le Jeudi, 24 May 2012.


Conférence sur l’Europe au 21e siècle,, 25 May 2012.


Europe in the 21st Century - Challenges and Opportunities conference, Luxembourg,  Europe by Satelite (EBS), European Commission Audivisual Services, 18 May 2012: