At a time when Europe is trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the EU needs a new way where people know who they are and have a strong commitment to the values of freedom, social justice, and development. This is the main reason to believe that a new standard of democracy in Europe is more than a possibility, but is also an individual and collective necessity for all of us as effective European citizens. The difference for a Europe of the future will be in its ability to exercise the full capacity of individual participation as the central contribution towards the reinvention of a collective society. It is this ‘New Way’ that is the right answer for this time of change.
This is a process that is not determined by law. It is effectively constructed by all the actors in a free and collaborative strategic interaction. In a certain sense, we need a new third way for Europe. When Anthony Giddens spoke about this special global capacity of creating a new commitment between Europeans toward the challenges of the future, he was, in fact, speaking about this commitment to a new form of democracy in Europe that is based on new standards of social innovation. This new way is, above all, a confirmation that individual performance in a complex society is not only possible, but also desirable and, above all, necessary for the future.
Europe must regain its internal competitive advantage, but at the same time, it must be able to reinforce its global standing. In this way, it is essential for Europeans to learn the lessons that are emerging across the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The main lesson is that Europe is trying to rebuild its competitive advantage and to reinvent its effective place in a complex and global world. In a new global economy and an innovative society, Europe has a central role to play in building a new attitude that is connected with the creation of value and focuses on creativity.
During a time of change, Europe can’t wait and it must confirm itself as an enabler in a very demanding world by introducing into society and into the economy a capital of trust and innovation that is essential to ensure its central leadership in future relations with the US as well as the more dynamic countries in the developing world. The actors from Europe should be more global and capable of driving to the social matrix of a unique dynamic type of knowledge by building and selling it as an asset on the global market.
Europe is facing a new strategic challenge, but by re-inventing Europe and giving its governments, universities, enterprises, and civil society the opportunity to develop new challenges that are focused on innovation and creativity is, in a large sense, giving a central contribution to a new global order. The reinvention of Europe is, in fact, the reinvention of its people and institutions. An active commitment, in which the focus of the participation and development of new competences on a collaborative basis, must be the key difference.
The agenda for the new way also has an important dimension related to science and innovation. Universities and companies must perform a new strategic partnership that is centred on the objectives of added value, creativity, and knowledge. This is the basis for the future effective implementation of the New EU2020 Strategy, which must be followed by the ‘New Way’. All of these countries still have a strong opportunity to implement an agenda of innovation, as the opportunity is increasingly a fact and that can’t be lost.
Culture is another important dimension for this new approach. The cultures of the individual European nations are unique assets. Europe must be able to involve other global partners in the construction of integrated projects that are focused on the development of culture as a driver for development. The reinvention of culture is, itself, a very innovative way to involve a larger number of European actors in a project for the future.
The ‘New Way’ is, first and foremost, an agenda for the future. Europe must have an intelligent attitude towards the new capability that these emergent economies face in a complex global world that is in crisis. Europe’s resources, from its scientists to its entrepreneurs, and in cooperation with politicians and other social actors, must understand this and give effective signs of change that point to a better future.
This is the message of the ‘New Way’.