Rethinking and Refounding Europe

According to a front-page article in today’s _New York Times_ entitled “Leaders Reach for Deal to Keep the Euro Intact,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week: “Europe must be refounded and rethought.”  This is an extraordinary statement in every respect.  The task at hand is not just a monetary or political one.  It is not limited to the countries of the euro zone.  It does not concern only the rescue of the euro.  It is not even a task for the European Union alone.  It is presented as a project for all Europe.  And it is a foundational project.  First, the very notion must be rethought, thought anew, reconceptualized.  It can no longer be taken for granted what “Europe” means.  In addition, its foundations are no longer stable and credible.  Europe needs to be reconstituted.  It needs a new basis and a renewed legitimacy.  This means that the project “Europe” must start again from the ground up.  I would add that, if Europe faces such tremendous challenges, both institutional and philosophical, the study of Europe must be drastically reconsidered as well.

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