Europe currently grapples with unprecedented challenges reminiscent of those faced during the crises of the 1930s. Trust in institutional structures wanes, social cohesion diminishes, economic growth becomes uncertain, demographic decline plagues specific nations, and the specter of rising nationalism, coupled with apprehensions about the 'other,' threatens communal bonds and identities. European citizens increasingly perceive the erosion of what Machiavelli described as “vivere civile, vivere libero” – the ability to participate in civic life while confidently expressing their political views.
Therefore, it becomes paramount to establish a platform that comprehends the contemporary dynamics and fosters dialogue among individuals spanning Europe's diverse landscapes, enabling them to collectively address these formidable challenges. Beyond seeking a return to certainty, it is imperative to chart a course toward a future that can reinvigorate these societies. With a commitment to exploring such pathways, in 2018, the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) and ERSTE Foundation in Vienna embarked on a collaborative endeavor: the Europe's Futures project. Positioned at the confluence of academia, civil society, and politics, this initiative seeks to offer fresh perspectives and solutions for the manifold complexities facing Europe today.