Unity and the meaning of Europe, under discussion


Pamplona (EFE).- The “complex and delicate” geopolitics that define today’s Europe, its different perspectives and the “real” possibility of creating a common European identity, are some of the questions that will be at the center of this Thursday program of the Pamplona 72-22 / Iruñako 72-22 Topaketak Encounters.

It will be a programmed dialogue between the Hungarian writer and essayist Làzló F. Földényi and the Spanish professor of philosophy José Luis Villacañas Berlanga, who briefly touched on some of the questions they will address this Thursday during a press conference.

Földényi pointed to the shift Europe has made as a continent after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, coming together in a way that “hasn’t happened for many decades.” “Europe was traditionally a fragmented continent, but on February 24 with the threat of Russia, we witnessed not the fragmentation but the unification of Europe. In this context, we have seen the unification of the continent through its values, through democracy and liberalism,” he said.

According to Földényi, this is the first time “since the 17th century” that Europe has been united as a continent and upheld common traditional values. Far from being “optimistic”, the Hungarian writer underlined that in Europe there is a crisis which comes “from countries like Poland and Hungary, but also from populism.

The writer Lászlo F. Földényi takes part in the Pamplona Encounters 72-22. EFE / Jesus Diges

“In Hungary, I feel trapped by a government, a president who likes democracy, but not liberalism. He says that these are two mutually exclusive elements. I am one of those who think this is unacceptable,” he said.

For his part, José Luis Villacañas underlined that “the question of the drift of Europe is only half a question”, and that the “important” question must relate to “the drift of the world”.

A question that has been linked to the federalism of Europe, saying that this “will only be possible insofar as it is not exclusive to it”.

“Europe can only be saved and established in this federal state if other countries, other peoples choose to federate in the same way. If Europe is alone in this construction, it will come to nothing,” he argued.


Beyond the unity of Europe as a federation of states, Villacañas called it “a subordinate power that is part of this game between powers, but it is not what decides”.

A position that, according to Villacañas, Europe must abandon because “unlike many other countries, it has an economic, cultural and political arsenal that allows it a certain independence from the great hegemonic powers”.

And so, “because of its philosophical principles, because of the way it structures its way of life”, Europe “cannot stay on the side of the Kremlin or Beijing, but neither can it side on the side of what is happening in the United States and of a society invaded by racism, violence, inequalities and the use of arms,” he said.

The writer Lászlo F. Földényi (l) and the philosopher José Luis Villacañas pose in front of the headquarters of the Pamplona Encounters 72-22. EFE / Jesus Diges

In this sense, Földényi pointed out that there is currently “the misconception that freedom belongs to us”, and that “since the beginning of this war, we have realized that freedom is more important than liberalism. is why we must do something for this freedom that we value.

The legacy of art in the 1972 Encounters returns to those of 2022

On the other hand, this Wednesday was held the round table “Art, memory and virtuality. What can art do in a scenario of transit?”, a round table in which its speakers reflected on the legacy of the Rencontres from 1972 in current artistic creation.

He played artists Asier Mendizabal, professor of sculpture at KKH, Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm; Navarrese designers Carlos Irijalba and June Crespo, and moderator Susana Blas.

“We are trying to summon the memory of an event that we cannot attend from our personal memory,” Mendizabal stressed, noting that none of the speakers experienced the meetings 50 years ago. “There’s a component of something that didn’t turn out what it should have, or didn’t materialize as expected…but there’s a legacy, a kind of genealogy, that has to do with this idea of ​​failure or missed opportunity,” he said.

For his part, Irijalba pointed out that, in a way, “they have been mythologized a lot”, but in reality “they have assumed a kind of hatching for different expressions”.

Art as an expression of freedom

The two artists spoke about the role of art as a manifestation of freedom and shared the idea that before “there was a greater sense of freedom for artistic transgression”.
“If something marks the encounters, it’s that they show what art can do in the public space, and what it becomes. In 1972, an artistic manifestation linked to politics could not take place in the public space, and now it can”, underlined Irijalba, referring to the political context in which the first encounters took place.

Following this idea, Mendizabal pointed out that the 1972 Encounters, although not “an absolute artistic opposition to Francoism, in them art overflowed and fulfilled its function”, but he asserted that it would be wrong to think “that at that time once there was epic resistance and now that resistance is more subtle”.

Regarding the relationship between art and virtuality, Mendizabal pointed out that, in a way, “the core” of the meetings of 50 years ago is closely linked to “the power that the confluence of digital technology and a way of understanding horizontal participation in culture”.

“These meetings, with a very strong intuition, dealt with this idea of ​​utopian participation of society with, at its origin, the new possibility that would emerge in the digital world”, underlined Mendizabal.

Web editor: Maria Montoya


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