You never refuse an invitation to one of the Maisons de l’Europe, the 35 French centres of information, documentation and debate that maintain a lively link between the European Union and civil society.
On 9 April, Albrecht Sonntag was invited to the Maison de l’Europe d’Angers et du Maine-et-Loire, in order to explain “what football says about Europe” and wrap up the three years of research within the FREE Project. His presentation followed an exposé by Elise Racque, a bachelor student in European Studies at the University of Nantes and former intern at the Maison de l’Europe, on the conceptual distinction between a supranational, federalist vision of Europe and the theory of demoïcracy popularised by Kalypso Nicolaïdis. A debate which inevitably leads to issues like the apparent lack of a European public sphere and the concrete realisation of the EU’s motto “United in Diversity”. Against this backdrop Albrecht used the example of football as an illustration how a seemingly unpolitical public sphere can indeed emerge across borders and fill the motto with a concrete experience for many individuals.
The Maison de l’Europe d’Angers et du Maine-et-Loire is also a partner in the “Mails from Europe” initiative recently launched by the EU-Asia Institute.