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Bozar conference to address rise of euroscepticism

Dec 1, 2016

The Goethe Institut in Brussels is organising a free two-day conference in English to discuss the surge of populist, extremist and eurosceptic parties.

"We are at a moment of profound crisis here in Europe, in the world, maybe," says Cristina Nord, the institute's director of cultural programming. "We need to open a space for reflection in our society and find ways to include those who feel excluded from the political debate."

After the results from the EU referendum in the UK, many speak of a fractured Europe, divided and confused, a sense of implosion growing in each nation.

Presidential elections are due this coming Sunday in Austria, where the polls continue to trend in favour of the far-right Freedom Party and its candidate, Norbert Hofer, whose stance on immigration is the opposite of Angela Merkel's open door policy.

Then comes the Netherlands next March, where general elections will be held amid a similar atmosphere of populism and euro-scepticism, while the French go to the urns in April to choose their next president. Next January the US will have a new president and new cabinet.

The conference, European Angst, will take place from 6-7 December at Bozar and guests from different backgrounds and disciplines will be present, including Nobel prizewinner Herta Müller, as well as thinkers and writers including Slavoj Žižek and Didier Eribon.

Topics will include social media and conspiracy theories, narratives to face extremism, scapegoating and racism.

"We wanted to have a different kind of event," says Nord. "We need to shake things up a bit, do whatever we can to help the people in power see what they might not be seeing."

There won't be any politicians during the talks - except at the end of the event and only to receive a manifesto drawn by 40 students, a document based on the insight gained during the two-day conference.

The event is organised in partnership with the Czech Centre, the Alliance Française de Bruxelles-Europe, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Polish Institute in Brussels and Bozar. 

European Angst, 6-7 December, Bozar, free (registration required)

Mikek1300gt Dec 2, 2016 14:12

Oh boy, I can just see it now! What on earth shall we do about all these racist extremists complaining about immigration and the wonderful and growing diversity! And what ion earth is wrong with those people who cannot see how wonderful the EU is and what a cracking job it's doing!

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