March 29, 2018 – Ambassador Duško Lopandić, former Head of the Mission of the Republic of Serbia in the EU and Member of our Council, presented his new book The European Union: between nation and globalisation on Thursday, March 29, at the atrium of National Library of Serbia.
The event was addressed by Suzana Grubješić, Secretary-General of the European Movement in Serbia, Professor at the Law Faculty Radovan Vukadinović, Professor Slobodan Zečević, research fellow at the Institute for European Studies (IES), Srđan Majstorović, President of CEP Governing Board, Gojko Božović, founder and editor of the publishing house Arhipelag, as well as by the author of the book, professor Lopandić.
Lopandić said that he wanted to give public a book to reflect on the process of European integration and to contribute to the inclusion of a wider circle of citizens in the debate on the future identity of the EU, because “Europe is changing rapidly before our eyes, and, having in mind that we’re on the road to the Union, we should be involved in the latest developments. ”
The EU, despite all the crises, remains the most important factor in this region and the world’s largest economic power, Lopandić added.
We can not give up from the road to the EU, because our membership in it is a good thing for the economy, for citizens and civil society, good for the future of our country, highlights the author.
Major changes are ahead of the European Union, Grubješić said. She added that it is necessary to organise more debates on this topic because, as she says, citizens in Serbia are not sufficiently involved in debates on the future of the Union. She also warned of the danger of increasing populism, both in the European Union and in the Western Balkan countries. “Populism is very dangerous because it undermines the foundations of democracy,” Grubješić said.
Grubješić also pointed out that the tumultuous past of this region is one of the reasons why we are late with the process of European integration.
“While integration was happening to Europe, we had disintegration,” Grubješić explained.
Vukadinović said that this book is a good way to bring European ideas closer and explain them to citizens, since “European idea is not something that is outside of us, but something that is in us.”
In addition, Vukadinović raised the question of whether the EU can “survive” all of the crises and challenges ahead of it, as it often seems that the EU was created only for good times, on a field that is not “stiff.”
The book is a reflection of a professional opinion, but also a personal, intimate experience, which makes it special, Zečević said. He stressed that EU membership is not a magic solution, but that is significant because it is a confirmation of its progress and normalization.
Srđan Majstorović noted that in this book Ambassador Lopandić actually “three books in one”.
“The first book is a serious textbook and theoretical analysis of history and the development of the idea of unifying European countries, as well as the realization of the idea of centennial peace in Europe. The second book is a manual for communicating with the public on the subject of the EU. This is something we have to work on since now this space is covered by uninteresting discussions. Thirdly, my favourite book is contained in private letters, which represent an intimate opening of the author towards the reader,” said Majstorović.
Majstorović also said he agrees with Lopandić that “the EU is a child of wars and disasters,” so that the Balkan citizens who experienced wars have full legitimacy to be representatives of Europeans.
“Professor Lopandić is right when he says that membership is not a golden club. EU membership is not the goal, the goal is to change one’s self, restore confidence in institutions so that we can give a true stamp to the Union and contribute to the future of the Continent. This requires not only the engagement of Serbian state, but all citizens,” Majstorović pointed out.
“This book represents a great contribution to the opening of a genuine debate about the Union and what kind of future we want to turn to,” concluded Majstorović.
Božović said that the book is very up-to-date since “this issue of nations and identities reappears on the European political stage, although it seemed to be something that we overcame,” and that globalization is “a broad context in which the EU is trying to justify their role”.