Der Alte Kontinent und das Meer - Geschichte, Gegenwart und Zukunft einer engen Interaktion

October 24, 2023 | 18:15-19:45 | Lecture Hall III, Main Building University of Bonn

Europe, the continent most permeated by the sea, has developed close ties to the seas since ancient times. But what may seem a matter of course to most inhabitants of Western Europe is not always present to many people in the center of the continent or even in Eastern Europe. While people everywhere dream of beaches and seaside vacations, the sea is far more than just a cipher for longings and dream journeys. Without the sea and seafaring, there would be little or no interaction with the worlds of other continents. It was only with the European discovery of America by Columbus that the development of a modern world system began, which has cumulated in the "globalization" of recent decades and led to a worldwide exchange of goods. For decades, 90% of Germany's imports and exports of raw materials and goods have come and gone through its port edges, and the situation is similar in most European countries. All of humanity is now pushing toward the life-giving coasts and oceans; about two-thirds of the world's population now lives within a strip of only 60 km inland of the coasts on the continental margins. But the pressure on ocean margins is bringing more and more conflicts, between humans and nature, but also between actors of all scales. Since Greek antiquity, it has been axiomatic that domination over large areas is secured by maritime power. World power is sea power, empires are based on the mastery of the "sea lines of communication". And so we ask: What role do the near and far seas have for Europeans and the future prospects of their continent? In a maritime world tour that begins at Europe's marginal seas and continues to the distant oceans, experts and specialists sound out which economic and political fields of conflict are shaping the seas and their environment today. And what adjustments await Europeans if they want to continue to play a role in tomorrow's world and maintain security and prosperity. For it depends greatly on whether the maritime challenges of the 21st century are understood and mastered.



Dr. Joachim Weber

Senior Fellow Strategic Foresight and Risk Analysis of the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies, University of Bonn

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