“We need to make the EU less of a science and more of a feeling” – EC VP Margaritis Schinas
The VisuALEU 2021 Summer School started today, with an insightful keynote by the European Commission Vice President for Promoting our European way of life, Mr Margaritis Schinas.
Following an introduction by the Academic Coordinator of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, Associate Prof. Nikitas-Spiros Koutsoukis, and a warm welcome from the Rector of the University of the Peloponnese Prof. Athanassios Katsis, the European Commission Vice President, Mr Margaritis Schinas talked to the summer school participants and the audience about the “European Way of Life: A Europe that protects, a Europe that empowers“.
He was then joined by Professor Nicolas Demertzis (University of Athens; National Center for Social Research) and Professor Konstantinos Hazakis (Democritus University) framing the discussion by posing some challenging questions about how the European Way of life can be effectively realised. The panel session was moderated by Prof. Antonios Klapsis (University of the Peloponnese) from the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.
Set against a backdrop of an EU that is pondering about its future, a number of key messages were highlighted during this opening keynote and the discussion that followed; each just as important as the next. However, if we must choose three of them to recite in this post, it would be hard not to mention the following:
First, the European Way of life is more about being part of the “European family” and less about uniformity or establishing a “Homo Europaeus” per se; there cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” European culture.
Second, Europe has conquerred its own “Corpus Europaeum” of values and principles that are shared throughout Europe, reflecting the way of life in Europe as it stands and as the Europeans would like it to be when looking into the future and the future of Europe in particular.
Third, and taking into consideration the ongoing Conference on the future of Europe, the future of Europe needs to be defined at the people level, by the Europeans themselves. To quote the Vice President, the [discussion for the] future of Europe should “(…) get out of the boundaries of those who think they master it (…); we need to make the European Union less of a science and more of a feeling“.
Looking back at this opening keynote, we, at the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “Visualising, Analysing and Learning about EU Studies” are profoundly honoured and deeply motivated by the Vice President’s keynote. Unexpectedly, perhaps, this last message is the very same challenge that we are striving to address through the activities of this Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. Our goal, in “visualising, analysing and learning about EU Studies” is to capture the gist of the trend-setting European Union and of the community studying it, and relay its ‘feeling’ with less conventional and more novel, intuitive and insightful ways. This is marathon, of course but indeed we are looking forward to it.
Thank you Mr Vice President, for the honour to open our 2021 Summer School.
Mr Schinas’ keynote session was the first installment in the centre’s “VisuALEU Encounters” activity where we seek to engage and interact with politicians at the highest level, to get an insider’s view of how EU policy is made. The next “VisuAELU Encounter” is on Thursday, 14 July 2021, and is organised in collaboration with the European Parliament former Members Association; we will interact with fMEP Ms Marietta Giannakou and discuss about the role of citizens and parliaments in shaping the future of Europe. All VisuALEU Encounters’ sessions are open to the public and you can join us by registering here and be part of the next VisuALEU Encounter.