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2021-05-08/09 European Bildung Conference

Last weekend, I participated in the annual European Bildung Conference organised by European Bildung Network and Nordic Bildung members. The conference was organised digitally and focused on bildung aspects as education, social development and philosophy in Europe and globally. One key aspect of the European Bildung Forum is the metamodernist meta-narrative, which is still under philosophical construction by different intellectuals wishing to create a new metanarrative to integrate and replace postmodernism. 

During the conference, I participated in general and optional sessions, such as in the case of Bildung in higher education and the Danish Muslim Manifesto. Here some of my favourite moments during the conference: 

  • Two concepts of bildung based on historical development in Denmark during the 19th century: 
  1. “folkbildung” , as for peasants, working-class, uneducated)  
  2. “burgoiuse bildung”, as for middle-class and wealthier individuals 
  • “Chautauqua” – similar to bildung process that was organised among Native American communities as in USA and Canada, focus on life-long learning 
  • De Bildung Academie in the Netherlands, working with study circles and innovative learning tools. 
  • Sitra, a Finland based bildung organisation, focusing on aspects as the circular economy. 
  • Bildung in Ukraine, a new movement for promoting bildung culture in Ukraine after the Maidan revolution 

For more information about European Bildung Network, you can visit this link

Also, if you are interested, please sign the new Global Bildung Manifesto 

2021-02-22 What has the EU done for Sweden? (and vice-versa)

In 2014, during the European Parliament elections period, a publication was made in Sweden under the name “Vad har EU gjort för Sverige – och vad har Sverige gjort för EU?” meaning “What has the EU done for Sweden – and what has Sweden done for the EU?” 

The publication was written by Fredrik Erixon (ECIPE) and Stefan Fölster (Reforminstitutet). Both writers are known in the public debate and working for market-liberal think tanks.

One of the main ambitions of this publication was to provide arguments and findings in favour of Sweden as an EU-member state and country. Another ambition was to analyse and compare different results, as economic and welfare development, since 1995 when Sweden joined the EU after a popular referendum.

Their analysis relates to a government survey called Consequence Inquiry (Konsekvensutredningen) from 1993, when the Swedish government analysed the accession process. Here is a summary of the main conclusions: 

  • Since 1995, Sweden’s external trade has grown faster than anyone could predict. The same can be said with direct investments from Sweden to other EU-countries. 
  • Swedish trade has been specialised and the high intensity of “EU:s defensive trade policy” has probably not had any notable influence on Sweden’s total amount of trade.  
  • In the agricultural sector, Sweden went from a more regulated and protectionist system to a similar system based on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • Food and provisions prices became adjusted to other EU-countries and were reduced to around 20 per cent compared to different prices. 
  • Imposing EU:s deregulations followed by the membership process influenced trade in sectors as telecommunications, but there has not been a substantial effect on public procurements across state borders. 
  • Employment levels have changed little, while real wage growth has been phenomenal with an increase of 44 per cent since 1995
  • The most significant immigration took place after Sweden decided to abstain from transition rules in 2004 when the EU was enlarged with ten new countries as Poland and Estonia. 
  • Wage dispersion is in principle unchanged since Sweden became an EU-member state. 
  • There is a surprise regarding the membership fee since it became 10 billion SEK (around 900 000 Euros) lower than officially expected.
  • The taxation system has been affected differently, and Sweden has lowered the taxation burden since the membership. Some tax-competition within the EU may have influenced. However, it was mostly due to lower interest rates on government debt, lower membership fee. 
  • Total consumption increased by 20 per cent, and the feared increase in alcohol-related damages did not occur. 

In their summary, Erixon and Fölster write that it can be said that during the 1994 referendum, neither concerns and misgivings of the “No side” (against EU-membership), and optimism and hopes of the “Yes side” (in favour of EU-membership) were fulfilled. 

For more information, the publication “Twenty five years of Swedish reforms”, also written by Stefan Fölster, and Johan Kreicbergs.  

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