giovedì 11 agosto 2011

Gianni Vattimo: “Europe has to defend the European model of public education”

dal sito di Nadja Hirsch, collega dell'Alde al Parlamento europeo.

Gianni Vattimo: “Europe has to defend the European model of public education”

Next to being a member of the European Parliament, Gianni Vattimo is a renowned philosopher and author of numerous publications. He was a professor at the University of Turin, as well as visiting professor at a number of American universities. Within the European Parliament, he is amongst others a member of the committee on culture and education, the delegations for relations with the countries of Central America, as well the vice-chair of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly.

Let’s see what Mr Vattimo had to say:

1. You have criticised the police violence used in order to put down peaceful demonstrators – as we have witnessed most recently in Spain. What concrete measures, if any, should the EU take in order to protect the right to peaceful assembly?

What the European Union can do in order to protect the right to peaceful demonstrations everywhere on the Continent is strongly conditioned by the till now very poor powers of the Union on the policies of the different member countries. Not only in terms of rights to demonstrate, bur in many other aspects of the social life, such as bioethics (the example of Italy depending on the Vatican approval on these themes is so eclatant) the laws and rules of the Union deserve to be more clearly enforced.

2. As member of the culture and education committee, you have been dealing extensively with the Bologna Process. In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge that the European Higher Education Area still faces today?

In the field of education, research and university, Europe has to defend the European model of public education, against the persistent temptation of “americanizing” it, namely of leaving education and scientific research in the hands of private capital which is fatally interested in short-term and commercial results, without any, or with very poor, attention to the basic research and to the civil implications of education.

3. You are an internationally recognised philosopher and political thinker: how has this theoretical approach helped – or hindered – you in the political (and thus perhaps more pragmatic) arena?

I don’t feel “exiled” from philosophy, being engaged in my activity as MEP. Probably, I have to confess that the experience of the European Parliament (and of the electoral campaigns, the relationships with my constituency etc.) have marked my recent philosophical activity pushing me towards a more and more intense consideration of the ontological meaning of the praxis. Following Heidegger, Being is Ereignis, Event. Also the results of an election are something of the kind.

4. As a Member of the European Parliament representing Italy and its citizens, what major challenge or opportunity does the EU provide for your country or region?

When I came for the first time to the European Parliament I was persuaded that the problem of Italy was to reach the civil level of the other European countries, especially in the field of civil rights, secularity of politics, etc. Now I still believe that, but I realize that Italy has also a specific original contribution to offer to the rest of Europe, namely the importance of the humanistic tradition in the school and the heritage of the social struggles for better labour rights and social welfare.

5. If you were to convince the citizens of Bavaria in two sentences about why they should come and visit your constituency, what would be your answer?

The reasons mentioned above may help also in relation to the Bavarian citizens. With a special accent on the secularity of the civil power. It’s not a matter of being less “christian” because in Italy (and may be in Bavaria) we have too much Church-power. Rather, it’s a matter of interpreting Christianity, also in virtue of our historical experience, in more spiritual terms (I think of Joachim de Flore…): Less Vatican, more Christianity.

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