HISTORY OF MENTALITY OF THE ADRIA - Curiosity and conflict as
trade secret


IAt the kick-off meeting of “RETHINKING EUROPE“ (2012 and 2013 in Trieste) we discussed the relation of regions to innovation and culture. The clear conclusion was that cross-border regionalism is the way forward for a successful Europe.

2013, in the year of Croatia‘s accession, we were focussing on the significant role that the regional dimension can play in tackling Europe‘s cultural and societal challenges. This year, in 2014, which will see the launch of the new Adriatic Ionian macro-region, to develop this debate on a broader scale. Current debate in the EU is dominated by economic considerations and crisis management, and not the deeper analysis of today‘s Europe that we believe is indispensable. Europe, which has done so much in the past to advance civilisation, needs a re-evaluation of its current culture in order to succeed.

At the heart of Europe‘s development of civilisation and justice has been a constant exploration of its extraordinary diversity, and this tension remains at the heart of today‘s challenges. The sense that those who are different or foreign must be excluded from society is still present, and can rapidly become dangerous, expressing itself in racism, nationalism and religious repression. Europe‘s principles of democracy, freedom, and human rights and its commitment to the well-being of each individual face constant challenges. Its commitment to “unity in diversity“ requires a new interpretation at regional level.

Regions, and in particular cross-border regions, can escape the narrow constraints of today‘s politics to rethink the identity and aspirations of their people. It is at the regional level that communities see the clearest value in cross border cooperation as a wide range of EU-funded actions already demonstrate. And, it is interesting to note that just as euroscepticism seems to be on the rise in Europe, there is a wave of enthusiasm for the idea of creating more intense regional identities for example through the new macro-regions. We propose that the conference in 2014 in Piran (Slovenia) should explore how to harness the spirit of this deeper Europe, that recognises value in diversity, and places the regions at the heart of today‘s European culture and civilisation.


Michael Fischer (1945 – 2014)