1918-2018: Territorial Transformation and the Future of the Construction of Europe
IED Seminar with the Sabino Arana Fundazioa
Bilbao, Basque Country, 29 November 2018
1918, the year of what came to be known as the Wilson Doctrine, and of the armistice that brought an end to the first world war, was the year of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires which, along with the revolutions in Russia the preceding year and the beginning of civil war, led to national insurrections which changed the map of Europe. This new European reality was composed of changes to frontiers and the renaissance of emerging nations which became states. The Baltic States, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus ... were transformed into independent nations, albeit for a very short period during this initial phase and subsequently, after many historic vicissitudes, including the tragedy of another world war, finally became sovereign states at the end of the 20th century.
Iceland, Finland and Poland also became independent 100 years ago.
Not all the States created in 1918 survived this centenary, although their nationalities certainly have. For example, the plurinational states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia disappeared as legal-political structures in the last decade of the 20th century, but their Nations emerged to gain access to statehood.
The last one hundred years have also witnessed the germination of the extraordinary idea of the European Union as a reaction against the wars that raged across the Continent and against nostalgia for the 19th century sovereign Nation-States that caused so many tragedies in Europe.
For us this centenary is the chance to conduct an analysis of where we came from in order to ascertain where we are going. Europe is like a kaleidoscope the inner workings of which change, but its Peoples remain and adopt different positions. In this regard, the increase of political statuses following the collapse of Empires and States has been a historical constant in the evolution of our continent.
From this historic centennial perspective, at this Seminar we examined the future of Europe as a sovereign entity operating in a multipolar world, the epicenter of which has shifted towards the Pacific within the last few decades, and catch a glimpse of the scenarios of the internal players: States, Nations, regions, cities.