Europe today finds itself in a fascinating time period. The collapse of the Soviet Union ushered in a new era, bringing the nations of Europe closer together again. However, success is not all we are seeing in Europe, as many problems and dilemma’s have arisen as well. The economic inequality between EU member-states, the massive flows of migrants, the debate between sovereignty and federalism within the EU, the disagreement about the direction and polarization in European parliaments, and these are only the most blatantly obvious. Over the coming years, Europe will need to decide in which direction it is heading and how it wishes to shape the future. So far Europe has generally responded in a ‘reactive’ way, coming up with solutions after a problem occurred. In order to become ‘proactive’ Europe will need to figure out where it stands in the world. Europe will need a better understanding of internal cultural differences and power struggles, as well as figuring out where it stands on a global level. The ‘West vs East’ bi-polar distribution of power in the world ended decades ago, and it is clear the world is starting to move away from the mono-power of the United States.
Europe started to lose its position as a center of power after the First World War, and disappeared into the shadows after the Second World War. Living in the shadows of world superpowers these last centuries, Europe appears to have forgotten a part of its history, and with that a part of its identity. In essence, we believe Europe is lost. Europe has forgotten its location; geographically, politically and historically. Note that when we speak of ‘Europe’, we are talking about the people in the geographical region of Europe, from Atlantic to Bosporus and the Ural mountains.
The Clovis Institute was launched in 2017, creating a new Europe-centered institute. The focus of the Clovis Institute is understanding Europe’s place in the world, according to the trinity of history, geography and politics. We aim to dive deeper into Europe’s history to find the continuities with today; rather than observing history as separate and loose-standing segments, we wish to discover how the past impacts our modern lives and what lessons there are to be learned.
It is for this reason that we chose the name ‘Clovis’ for our institute. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 475 Europe entered a period of chaos. Clovis ended that chaos in the region of modern-day France by 509, by which time he was crowned King of the Franks. Clovis united past and future. He understood the importance of history, and converted to the Roman-Catholic faith, continuing the traditions of the Roman Empire. The lands that Clovis conquered roughly correspond to the country we call France, and we might argue that this is the furthest origin of the French state. A state that has existed through time, and continues to exist today.
To allow all that live in Europe to form a better understanding of their continent, we will publish articles that link our ‘trinity’:
We look forward to 2018 and wish you all a happy new year!