10. December 2020
Ulrich Krökel

Beyond the Single Market

“Creativity, genius and a capacity for rebirth and renewal are part of the soul of Europe” – that is how Pope Francis put it. Despite not coming from Europe himself, he is correct. There can be no doubt that Europe is more than just the Single Market plus political cooperation. Up to now, admittedly, education, scholarship and culture have tended to take a back seat in the institutional structure of the EU, even though they are what breathes intellectual life into the community. That being the case, a European feuilleton is called for – and this is exactly the idea behind eurozine.com.

The portal provides access to a network of 90 cultural journals from 35 European countries. “These journals are part of a genuinely international debate, spreading political, philosophical, aesthetic, and cultural thought between languages,” declare the Eurozine portal’s creators, who are based in Vienna. This is true: for anyone interested in keeping up with intellectual debates in Europe, Eurozine is more or less indispensable, especially since editorial personnel from non-EU countries like Norway, Serbia and Belarus are also involved. Texts are published both in English and in their original language.

However, the site does restrict itself to the accepted definition of a political feuilleton. There is neither literature criticism nor music criticism to be found here. There are likewise no recommendations for exhibitions or theatrical productions. Such elements are not part of the Eurozine concept, which envisages text pieces “on the most pressing issues of our times” at the highest level. Nevertheless, I find this a pity because artistic creation is precisely how the European creativity evoked by Pope Francis is expressed.

To anyone inclined to counter that pan-European concert recommendations would achieve little more than encourage people to become frequent flyers, I must confess I cannot offer a full reassurance. However, more and more digital offerings are available, in ever-increasing quality, to allow users to appreciate artistic creativity in other ways. I will restrict myself to mentioning just the one worthy example: the excellent Digital Concert Hall provided by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The new season, incidentally, begins with an open-air concert at the Brandenburg Gate featuring Beethoven’s 9th symphony, complete with the European anthem.

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