Europe: From Old Narratives to Today’s Politics

ALLEA and the Polish Academy of Sciences convened the conference ‘Europe on Test: The Onus of the Past – and the Necessities of the Future’ at the Staszic Palace in Warsaw on 11 October 2019. Local as well as international scholars and experts addressed how different collective memories in European societies impact today’s politics in Europe. Discussants explored which role concepts such as ‘European Identity’ and ‘European Solidarity’ can play in overcoming historical tensions as well as current and future challenges.

Different conceptions of Europe and democracy have evolved in Western and Central Europe. This division evolved in line with collective memories in societies of ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU member states.  In most cases, historical framings persist in current political narratives and thus also in conceptions of democracy. In the case of Central European countries such as Poland the concept of national sovereignty is closely linked to the arrival of democracy and the integration into the EU, whereas Western countries predominantly focus on the rule of law and the protection of individual rights, based on collective memories of the end of the Second World War.

The conference explored how such collective memories of nations evolve and how they affect processes such as European integration and recent political developments such as a move towards so called ‘illiberal democracy’, thereby showing that both narratives of European union and disunion can easily be exploited by political leaders in order to mobilize their electorates.

“The era of ideologies has been replaced by an era of identities. This is accompanied by a transformation of our modes of communication that tends to favour emotional and easily transmittable messages on complex issues over a rational and deliberative debate” – Antonio Loprieno, ALLEA President

An Era of Emotions and Identities?

In his opening address, ALLEA President Antonio Loprieno expressed his gratitude to the Polish Academy of Sciences for organising such a high-class event and shared his observation that “the era of ideologies has been replaced by an era of identities. This is accompanied by a transformation of our modes of communication that tends to favour emotional and easily transmittable messages on complex issues over a rational and deliberative debate.

The opening session included a lecture by Professor Anton Pelinka from Austria and a panel discussion on the role of history and collective memories of the past in the making of European polity, whilst the second panel, starting with a lecture by Professor Krzysztof Pomian from Poland, discussed European identity as a potential key to overcoming historical tensions.

Professor Claus Offe from Germany opened the third session, which focused on European interests as a shared responsibility. The event concluded with a talk by Virginie Guiraudon from France and a subsequent panel discussion on how to achieve European solidarity by meeting the challenges of today and shaping the future of Europe.

Europe on Test Series

The event was part of ALLEA’s ‘Europe on Test: Narratives of Union and Disunion’ series, which seeks to address historical trajectories as well as recent cultural, social, economic and political developments relevant for the future of the European community.

The next conference will be held at the Accademia delle Scienze di Torino on 7-8 November, where renowned Italian and international scholars will join to discuss ‘The Role of Academies in Sustaining European Knowledge Societies in Times of Crisis’.


Visit the conference website for more information on the programme and speakers.




ALLEA discusses Plan S at the Open Science Fair 2019

The 2019 Open Science Fair in Porto held on 16 to 18 September, featured a panel discussion on Plan S, the open access plan initiated by coalition of European funders to make all publicly funded-research open access from 2021.

On behalf of European academies and the academic community, ALLEA Board Member Luke Drury provided some insights on the current status of the project and underlined some of the key points introduced by the ALLEA statement on this matter.

The lively debate, chaired and facilitated by Inge van Nieuwerburgh (Ghent University), brought together various perspectives from national funding agencies, the so-called “Coalition S” and young researchers represented by Koen Vermeir, Chair of the Global Young Academy. The discussion focused on the need to include repositories and new publications models in order to avoid a continuation of the existing journal system.

The current status of Plan S was presented by Neil Jacobs, the interim programme manager for Plan S, who emphasised that there are, and always have been, multiple routes to compliance for Plan S and not only Gold Open Access. This model requires authors to publish their articles in an online open access journal in contrast to Green Open Access which allows for publishing in an a repository at the same time than releasing the research in non-open access journal.

The presentations from the event are available here.

Picture Credit: OSF

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The Future of Science Advice in Europe

SAPEA is organising “The Future of Science Advice in Europe”, a series of panel discussions and workshops to be held in Helsinki on 13 November. The one-day symposium will address current experiences and models for providing expertise to policymakers in Europe.

The event will take place at the National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo) and counts with the participation of international scholars and practioners. The event will focus on emerging trends, weak signals, and promising opportunities for developing next-generation science advice capabilities for Finland and across Europe.

ALLEA is part of SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) as one of its five networks. The project aims to provide independent and excellent scientific advice to the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. As such, SAPEA is part of the broader European Commission’s Science Advice Mechanism.

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150th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) celebrated its 150th anniversary on 11-13 October in Sofia. ALLEA, represented by its Vice-President Graham Caie (Royal Society of Edinburgh), joined the commemorative event, which was attended by prominent national and international policy and research-related representatives.


In his speech, ALLEA Vice-President remarked that “the history of this academy is testament to how evidence-based science as a common good, transgresses natural borders, to deliver knowledge not only at national and regional levels, but also to the global community.”

“The academy has proven its excellence in providing policy for the development of science and research, for instance, by accounting for about half of the scientific output in Bulgaria, by establishing c. 50 research units, as well as through its active participation in the European Research Area. […] The academy’s importance for advancements in scientific research and policy for Bulgaria, the Balkans, for Europe and globally, is therefore evident and highly admirable”, he said.

BAS has been an active member of ALLEA as one of its founding academies and hosted the 2018 General Assembly.  ALLEA warmly congratulates the academy on reaching this milestone and wish them continuing success in upholding scientific integrity and research.

Vice-President Graham Caie (Royal Society of Edinburgh) giving his speech. Photo by courtesy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS).