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The times of great changes require wider perspectives, accordingly throughout Europe visions of the past, present and the future have been questioned by different bodies and institutions. Among them also Pax Romana, precisely the Siiaec (The International Secretariat of the Catholic Engineers, Agronomists and Industrialists) and the KIK, (Club of Catholic Intelligentsia) - the organizers of the International meeting in Warsaw (April 2018). Intellectuals from several European countries presented their views on various contemporary challenges. The issue of European identity and its connection with the future of our continent seems to have raised most interesting discussions and fruitful confrontations.

Auschwitz is a name that from A to Z contains the alphabet of horror: right in the heart of Europe, it has become the place of the annihilation of the "different", to be identified not only with Jews but also with dissidents, opponents, the disabled, the mentally ill, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Roma, the Sinti, the Slavs. Today, 74 years after the liberation of that concentration camp, we are celebrating the 19th Day of the Memory of the Holocaust (the "catastrophe", in Hebrew) established by law 211 of 20 July 2000.

     The next general elections of the European Parliament will assume a crucial historical value for Europe. The actual political framework inside and outside the European Union strongly challenges the European institutions and their role as well as the very idea of Europe as a political community which is able to rule a continent according to common values and to reach common goals. The crisis of the traditional political parties in all the European countries, the rising of a new fascination for national identity and national sovereignty, they are the major features of a larger crisis of the political roots of Europe, including the concept of democracy.

  In May 2019 European people will elect the new European parliament and according to many analysts this election is going to be crucial for the future of the European Union. The rising of political parties and movements which consider the EU as the responsible for the economic crisis and for its consequences in terms of social security strongly challenge the very basis of the political project of a Europe unite in the diversity and ruled by democratic and effective institution. This scenario questions the existence of a European political perspective, since an increasing number of member states are ruled by governments which asks for a return to the central role of national state. Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy claim a return to the protection of the “national interest” and relevant political movements in Germany (particularly in Bavaria and East Germany), France and Belgium support this same position.

Convergence issue on Democracy

       The recent vote of the European Parliament against the Hungarian government asks for the application of the article 7 of the treaty of the European Union, which allows the European institutions to subject a member state to sanction if there is an evident violation of one of the basic principles of the Union: democracy. It is well known that such request will not produce effects, since the final decision has to be taken by the European Council, where several governments, such as those of Poland, Austria and Italy, side with Mr. Orban’s government.

       This entire story is the most recent manifestation of the historical crisis that modern representative democracy suffers in Europe and America. Such a crisis concerns the understanding of what democracy is. Modern democratic practices rest upon the basic idea of creating explicit and inviolable limits to every exercise of power and authority, so that even the power of the people does not lack a bound which is fixed in the list of rights and duties of the citizens and of the different communities. On the other hand, the idea of democracy which is proper of several political movements in Europe and of Trump’s administration in the United States is based on the idea that the democratic process consists in the simple popular mandate which enables the winner of a presidential election or a majority in a Parliament to consider themselves as the only legitimate representatives of the “general will” of the nation.

 The Hungarian Prime Minister, Mr Orban, has a growing reputation for certain choices made by his government, which give rise to very conflicting reactions, in that they include the restriction of freedom of expression, religious freedom, freedom of association, the rights of minorities and the rights of migrants, and a restriction on the independence of the judiciary. The European Parliament, in a recent resolution, expressed its opposition, because if in the body of Europe is developing a spirit that is so seriously damaging to the democratic principles that we have shared and experienced (despite all the shortcomings) in recent decades, the very idea of Europe risks being compromised.  The results of the elections in Sweden, in which xenophobic and sovereign impulses similar to those of other European countries are strongly emerging, have contributed to this conviction.

Asian democracy is invariably uneven, ranging from the regressive democracy of Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam to the more authoritarian in China, South Korea, and finally the more robust democracy of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Democracy is a phase in the political theory of Barbara Geddes who explains how the different kind of totalitarian regimes, from military, single-party, personalist, or amalgams of pure types, morph into different post less-totalitarian and more democratized regimes. In other words, democratization leads to the downfall of dictatorship which is facilitated by poor short-term economic performance. On the other hand, greater economic development leads the citizens to demand for greater democratic governance.