Whether the European Union has a future and which path it should take were questions that the participants in the discussion in the organization of the Festival of Tolerance did not give an unambiguous answer to. The debate was part of the new EU Film and Discussion Program with the support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Before the discussion, documentary called Feminister was presented, focusing on former Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, who insisted on a feminist approach to politics.

Referring to the role of women in politics, professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Žarko Puhovski, argued that what really matters is who a person is, not what gender. Human rights activist Sanja Sarnavka agreed with him, saying that many high-ranking women would not necessarily do well – in the context she also mentioned the example of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. We have yet to see what will bring the first woman to lead the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who has always insisted on the larger number of women in the EU governing bodies, Sarnavka said, warning that women's rights in Europe are going backwards. Former MEP Jozo Radoš noted that greater participation of women in politics is improving conservative societies.

As for the future of the European Union, Radoš believes in optimism based on rational analysis. Right-wing groups will continue to create difficulties, but climate, energy and digital development policies that are important to the Union will continue to be effective, Rados said. Žarko Puhovski claimed that the collapse of the European Union began 15 years ago when the project to pass the EU Constitution was thwarted.

"The constitution fell in the referendums where Euroscepticism began to emerge. The Union should return to its beginnings when it bribed its citizens by raising standards to prevent future wars. The EU sense is that calling from Dubrovnik to Tampere is cheaper than that to Trebinje. Insisting on human rights have never been the meaning of the European Union, but rather are economics, ecology and digital issues, ”Puhovski said.

Sanja Sarnavka stated the fact that human rights always retreats when it comes to financial interests, emphasizing the attitude towards migrants, but also the situation in countries with populist governments such as Hungary, Poland and Italy. Žarko Puhovski added that right-wing ideas could not be stopped entering the mainstream, and that entire nations were already profiled as right-wing. There is no longer a question of labor and capital, it is now engaging in intimate relationships, he said.

Brexit also brings new puzzles, including whether there will be additional enlargement of the EU. "There is no clear idea about this, but I do not believe there will be any enlargement in the next ten years. In the European Union they coo themselves that they are Europe, but they are forgetting about Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, while they humiliated Macedonia by forcing its name to be changed, "Puhovski said. Croatia, he stressed, was the first to show how it all collapses after joining the EU when all control mechanisms are gone.

In the coming months, the Film and Discussion program will be turning to elementary and secondary schools across Croatia, where it will strive to screen films and organize discussions on current Croatian and European social topics.

Photo: Domagoj Blažević

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