With this prize, the jury honours a six-year project that does not seek to understand Europe by means of a simple lexical definition, but by means of various coordinates – freedom and human dignity; solidarity and responsibility; politics and religion/worldviews; education and culture; regionality and globality; ecology and economy – investigates what Europe actually is. This takes place within the framework of an annual summer academy for students and young teachers and the philosophical festival "Denkbares". An accompanying volume is published for each academy.
The background to the project is the fact that Europe is probably in the greatest crisis since the end of the Second World War. This crisis is multifaceted and cannot be traced back to a single cause. It can be traced back to European political, social, economic, cultural and financial factors, but also to geopolitical changes such as in Europe's relationship with the USA, China, Africa or Russia. It reflects the negative consequences of modernisation, globalisation and mechanisation and is linked to the ecological crisis. It is at the same time a crisis of foundation and identity, from within and from without, with a view to the past as well as the future. In view of the dangers of renationalisation, populism and the resurgence of conflicts and tensions that were thought to have been overcome, the need to revitalise the European project becomes apparent. In this context, the question of the purpose of Europe plays an essential role - as a question of the meaning of Europe, which is at the same time the question of the direction of Europe: What are those coordinates that particularly shape European identity and that point out of Europe's origins into a European future? "These coordinates have become questionable today," says Professor Holger Zaborowski. "They require a new reflection by reason, which for its part has essentially determined Europe's identity, but also new forms of practice, of shared living, working, planning and dreaming – not just for the sake of Europe's future, but for the sake of the future of a peaceful and socially and ecologically oriented humanity." Reflections on the coordinates of Europe are also particularly urgent in view of the current Corona pandemic. For during this crisis, Europe's problems, challenges and opportunities, some of which have existed for a long time, have become even clearer. While in the spring of 2020 the European project took a back seat and solutions were often sought on a purely national level, the summer saw a reflection on European identity and solidarity. Zaborowski: "Europe will prove itself decisively in how the crisis is further overcome and dealt with. Above all, this requires a new way of thinking about Europe, as we propose in our project. That is why we are very pleased to be awarded the Prix Robert Schuman."
The "Prix Robert Schuman 2021" will be awarded at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) on 9 May 2021 at Robert Schuman's house in Scy-Chazelles.