Stefan Auer

Brexit, migration, the eurozone debt crisis: despite the victories of Macron and Merkel this year, the EU’s problems have not gone away. Indeed, the future shape and direction of both the EU and the UK remain far from clear. At the heart of the challenges they face lies the contestation of sovereignty, argues Stefan Auer.

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A political culture of total optimism has obscured one of the paradoxes of European unity: a constrained democracy, borne out of the experience of the devastating wars in the first half of the twentieth century, and aimed at suppressing pernicious populist instincts, has now become the source of new resentment. Coupled with the unintended consequences of the single currency, these are exceptional times indeed. And the challenges awaiting democracy are not about to get any easier, according to Stefan Auer.

European leaders’ unwavering commitment to ever closer union is causing more harm than good, argues Stefan Auer. Europe doesn’t need more integration; it needs more democracy to enable its nations to regain control over their destiny. Partial and well-managed disintegration may be preferable to a chaotic implosion.

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“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” However, what if remaining silent is unacceptable? Then Wittgenstein’s famous dictum no longer helps, writes Stefan Auer. Then one narrates stories, even cinematic ones.

From pacifist to cheerleader for US foreign policy, from dissident thinker to purveyor of “political kitsch”, Vaclav Havel was a figure that divided opinion. Nevertheless, right up to his death, Havel continued to pursue a consistent ideal, writes Stefan Auer.

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