Organised by Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and Uniting for Peace
The Brexit vote has left the future integrity of UK itself uncertain, with concerns over possible Scottish Independence, the delicate position of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, Gibraltar
and Spain problem. UK needs to save the union and stabalise its relation with other parts of UK and continental Europe. Brian Cooper discusses the historical and philosophical roots of
the ideal of European Unity, and asks if Euro-Idealism can be relevant today and in future.
The EU may maintain peace within Europe but it exports weapons that fuel conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere, with the UK the 6th biggest exporter of weapons globally. But what will Brexit mean for the UK – and EU – Arms Trade? Nearly half of UK arms exports go to Saudi Arabia whose bombing of Yemen is causing a humanitarian crisis. Post Brexit these exports will no longer be subject to EU restrictions. Peace and Justice Centre Coordinator Brian Larkin will ask whether the UK may seek to increase arms exports, if, in turn, EU states may seek to boost their arms exports and whether independence for Scotland within the EU could mean a reduction in its arms exports – and a more peaceful foreign policy.
How did the world’s most warlike continent become its most peaceful one? Europe is usually in the news for the wrong reasons. Economic crises, terrorist attacks, votes to leave, and allegations
that some countries are too powerful, all give the impression of a continent in a mess. Yet Europe has never been a safer or more prosperous place. Since 1945, the wars between neighbours that
were once an annual event in Western Europe no longer seem possible. Mehta dismisses the usual explanation for this; that the United States acts as a sort of military referee, through NATO,
preventing Spain from invading Gibraltar or the Walloons and Flemish fighting a civil war over Belgium. Rather, Mehta argues that the process of political integration through the European Union
has eliminated the reasons for conflict, and that this same model can be exported to Africa, The Americas, Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East and North Africa region, providing a promising glimpse of world peace. Britain’s Brexit vote raises fundamental questions for the future of all continental Europe. Historically, the world’s wartorn continent became the most peaceful one because of the EU’s efforts. But is it all now in a flux – economics crisis, terrorists attacks, far right populism and now Brexit all gave the impression of continent in a crisis. I will seek to outline ways in which peace can be maintained in an era of chaos