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Ninth Debate on European Identity, 11 March - Ana Palacio: "The Core EU challenge: democratic deficit or trust deficit?" (10.03.2014)

Debate with Ana PalacioIntroduction speech: English

Audio recording including discussion

Biography

The session was introduced by Ms Ana Palacio, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, member of the Council of State of Spain.

In her presentation entitled ‘The core EU challenge: democratic deficit or trust deficit ?’ She shared her reflections on Europe and its future.

Ms Palacio’s presentation was followed by a discussion with the audience. The debate was held in English.

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Policy planning missions explained by Director Piotr Switalski: Watch interview (February 2014)

Eighth Debate on European Identity with Tzvetan Todorov on 'In search of Europe', 13 February 2014, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

TodorovAccording to Tzvetan Todorov, the growing unhappiness with the European Union (EU) amongst the population should be understood as a response to politicians’ lack of vision for the European project. Interminable debates on bureaucratic rules and regulations, coupled with inadequate responses to the economic and social crises facing Europe’s citizens, leave citizens discouraged.

He remains convinced that the rationale in favour of the EU is still valid and suggests that building a cultural, or even spiritual, identity for Europe may help to overcome many disappointments and strengthen people’s connection with Europe.

Tzvetan Todorov notes the benefits from the richness of European culture, its plurality and diversity of traditions and ways of life, but he also sees difficulties with attempts to define a shared identity. He opts for an identity which refers to the constitutive pluralism of the EU as a basis of unity. This should embrace tolerance, emulation, critical thinking, generalised secularism, "general will" (Rousseau) and "common sense" (Kant). He draws particular attention to the significance and status of diversity as well as common memories and the coexistence of national and regional identities (‘Europe as a form of cohabitation between nations’).

Text of speech (French only)

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   New !   - Advisory Report by the think-tank Task Force on 'Smart Power - Ways of Enhancing the Council of Europe's impact' (24.01.2014)

As a follow-up to the December 2012 meeting of major think tanks, a task force-format with three different CoE-related focal topics has been decided, each on a central topic or concept which from the CoE’s perspective seems to be of strategic importance in the near or long-term future:

To date, two Task forces have met, gathering high-level and experienced think tank representatives.

The first task force, ‘Smart Power – Ways of Enhancing the Council of Europe’s Impact’ met in Munich, on 27 June 2013. The activity report above is the result of the discussions which were devoted to general strategic questions concerning the Council of Europe’s role and impact as an international organisation in the future. Major aspects such as the Council’s mandate, its relationship with the EU, capabilities-question etc. were also addressed, as well as : How can the CoE’s political impact be enhanced? What strategies could be imagined to make the Council and its work more relevant and visible to societies and governments? What could the relationship between the Council and other international organisations look like and which synergies could be used? The work of this task force could later result in an innovative new “political strategy” for the Council of Europe.

The second task force ‘The Pan-European Dimension: Ensuring the Use of the Council’s Wider European Membership’ addressed the membership and scope of the Council of Europe as one of its key assets.

The third task force ‘Challenges to European Societies: Identifying Major Risks and Finding Innovative Policies’ is expected to meet in Spring 2014.

Seventh Debate on European Identity with Robert Salais on ‘European identity: the past waiting for a future’, 23 January 2014 (20.01.2014)

 Robert SALAISThere are two opposing visions for Europe, one is strategic and based on finding common interests between European states and the second takes a universalist approach arguing for a European identity which respects the socio-historical diversity of the region and which can serve as a model for other continents. Robert Salais argues that the current dominant strategic orientation is neoliberalism and this is leading to an identity impasse, creating risks for the future of the European project. He suggests that to overturn this tendency Europe need to return to its original vision, to its universalist approach. For this to work, he outlines some conditions for Europe: the primacy of politics over economics; federalism and democratic deliberation at all levels; priority to fundamental human rights over economic freedoms; reaffirmation of the role of the state in the implementation of collective goals, etc. What is preventing Europe from becoming a more human and political community? How can we make Europe more open and democratic at all levels? These and other issues will be addressed by Robert SALAIS who will introduce the seventh European Identity Debate with a presentation followed by a discussion with the audience. Seventh Debate on ‘European identity: the past waiting for a future’.

 Robert Salais' biography : EN, FR

Video of the conference on Youtube     -   Audio recording: Part 1, Part 2 

The Schools of Political Studies at the 2nd World Forum for DemocracyWFD_2013 (29.11.2013)

This year again, the Council of Europe schools of political studies participated in the World Forum for Democracy, whose second session took take place on 23 - 29 November.

A specific programme of events had also been organised for them in the margins of the Forum, including the meeting of the Schools' Directors on 27 November.

Link to the Plenary session dedicated to the Schools at the World Forum

English, French, original version

See specific programme of events.

Link to World Forum web site 

newsletterNewletter : No 2 now issued ! (22.11.2013)

The second issue of our newsletter  (November 2013) is now issued.

 

Sixth Debate on European Identity with Daniel Cohn-Bendit on "Quo vadis Europa ?",  18 November 2013, Council of Europe, Strasbourg (19.11.2013)

Cohn-BenditIn a recent article Daniel Cohn-Bendit argued that “the time is ripe for a transnational, trans-generational, trans-partisan, grass-roots and crowd-funded movement to take European integration to the next level”. He suggests that Europe has a role to play as one of the global leaders, but to achieve this, Europe needs a paradigm shift based on the abandonment of national sovereignty and a move away from state-nation structures.

Is Europe ready to undertake these kinds of reforms and do European institutions have enough legitimacy to do so?
What are the limits of European integration and what responsibilities would national states have in a transnational Europe? 
Could European identity one day substitute national patriotism?

These and other questions were addressed by Daniel COHN-BENDIT who introduced the sixth European Identity Debate with a presentation that was followed by a lively discussion with a very numerous audience.

Text of speech (French version - English version to follow)

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"Divided by a Common Heritage: Human Rights in Europe and the United States"
Joint Council of Europe - Harvard University Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA/USA, 23 September 2013
(25.09.2013)

 Harvard, Wasserstein Hall

Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall


The United States of America and Europe have long considered themselves to be allies in the fight for domestic and international human rights. However, these two continents interpret certain key human rights issues in different ways and there is a need for a meaningful dialogue. Therefore, the Council of Europe and Harvard University have agreed to co-organise a two-part conference series, first in Cambridge, on 23 September 2013, and then in Strasbourg, in the first half of 2014. This conference series is aimed at exposing participants to viewpoints different from those they already possess, and thereby facilitate a greater understanding on the similarity and dissimilarity in human rights perspectives, practices and standards across the Atlantic.

The Cambridge conference was composed of three panels:
  • Panel 1: Does Context Matter? How and Why Europe and the US Differ on Human Rights  ?
  • Panel 2: Cyberspace: Terra Incognita for Human Rights? European and US Experiences
  • Panel 3: Overcoming Intolerance: Addressing Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the US and Europe

    The conference at Harvard Law School gathered a variety of high-level American and European speakers. It was attended by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe who gave a speech on “Is There a Crisis of Values in the Western World?”. Panelists included leading Harvard academics and European scholars and practitioners. The topics to be addressed at the second conference in Strasbourg will include: Penal System, Living Together: Asylum and immigration, Social Protection Systems.

    Programme of the conference

    Conference poster

  • Inauguration of the Visegrád School of Political Studies, Warsaw, 18 September (18.06.2013)

    Visegrad SPSThe Visegrád School of Political Studies was inaugurated on Wednesday 18 September 2013 in Warsaw, (Poland), in presence of two guests of honour: Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Radosław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

    The inauguration was followed by the first seminar of the School.


    Read more

    Biography - EN

    Fourth Debate on European Identity with President Martti Ahtisaari ‘Europe is stronger than you think – if we reinvent ourselves’  (20.06/13)

    Many say that Europe is having an existential crisis. For sure, the challenges are severe - and they are not only economic, but also deeply political. In times of crisis, we must not only consider the weaknesses of Europe but also highlight those qualities that made it strong. We have to be able to reinvent Europe.

    What are the strong attributes of Europe? How to keep the European dream alive? Can European politicians act together to build a common future? What vision for the Europe of tomorrow?

    Those were the key issues Mr. AHTISAARI, former President of Finland addressed in his presentation, followed by a discussion with a very numerous audience.

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    Meetings of the Directors of the Schools of Political Studies (15.06.13)

    The Directors of the Schools of Political Studies met on 13-14 June 2013 in Strasbourg for one of their regular meetings. This provided an opportunity to discuss recent developments in the Network, future activities of the Schools and their participation in the World Forum for Democracy, which will be held in Strasbourg from 27 to 29 November 2013.


    20th anniversary of the Moscow School of Civic Education

    To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Moscow School of Civic Education organised on 25-27 April 2013 in Golitsyno near Moscow the seminar "Moscow School: 20 years".  20 years ago, on 4 April 1993, the Moscow School of Civic Education held its first seminar on "Politics, economics and national relationships". For the past two decades, the School has contributed to the objective of transforming Russia into a truly open and democratic civil society which functions effectively.  More
    Singer

    Open-ended Debate Series (24.05.2013)

    The third conference of the series was introduced on 23 May by Professor Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher, Professor at Princeton University, on 'The rights of animals and human obligations'.
    (
    Video recording
    Audio recording -Video on youtube

     

    Open-ended Debate Series (15.02.2013)

    BretonThe second conference of the series was introduced on 14 February by Professor Philippe Breton, a laureate of the Institut de France, University Professor at the University Centre of Media Studies, University of Strasbourg. Professor Breton addressed the theme ‘The City by the Yardstick of great Anthropological Changes’. He started his presentation from a recognition that the invention of the city is perhaps at the exact intersection of three major anthropological changes in the history of humankind. The first concerns the shift from the tool to the machine, the second the transition from traditional societies to individualistic societies. And finally, the third change concerns the establishment of a process of de-legitimisation of violence and civilising of behaviour. The presentation was followed by a lively discussion with the audience.
    (Audio recording) - Video recording

    The inaugural conference had been introduced in November 2012 by Professor Erich Weede on 'Human Rights, Economic Freedom and State Solvency'.(Audio recording

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    The Moscow School of Civic Education celebrates its 20th anniversary (April 2013)

    To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Moscow School of Civic Education organised on 25-27 April 2013 in Golitsyno near Moscow the seminar "Moscow School: 20 years".  20 years ago, on 4 April 1993, the Moscow School of Civic Education held its first seminar on "Politics, economics and national relationships". For the past two decades, the School has contributed to the objective of transforming Russia into a truly open and democratic civil society which functions effectively.

    The School’s seminars, which focus on the most important and complex problems of modern times, offer young leaders a unique platform for open debates and free-thinking. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Moscow School of Political Studies invited its Alumni from all over Russia to the above mentioned seminar. The connection between power and society, power and personality as well as the question of morality in politics will be the key topics of the event. The School’s Alumni will debate with prominent national and international personalities.

    Catherine Lalumière, President of the European Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe, delivere a speech on "Power, Personality and Political Institutions". For more information and the programme, please visit the website of the Moscow School.

    Watch interview  by Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland

    ________________________________

    MoroccoMoroccan School of Political Studies - Launching conference (15.03.2013)

    The inauguration of the School of Political Studies of Morocco took place on 14 March 2013 in Rabat and was followed by a conference on the theme “Challenges and limits of deliberative democracy”. The inauguration of the Tunisian School of Politics had taken place on 8 January 2013 in Tunis. Both Schools are being set up in the framework of the Council of Europe new neighbourhood policy.

      Programme

    The inauguration of the Tunisian School of Politics had taken place on 8 January 2013 in Tunis, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who delivered a speech on this occasion. The inauguration was preceded by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding about the Council of Europe’s presence in Tunisia by the Council of Europe and the Tunisian authorities.

    Both Schools are being set up in the framework of the Council of Europe new neighbourhood policy. Independent NGOs like the sixteen existing Schools in Central and Eastern Europe, the new Schools’ objective will be to train new generations of political, economic, social and cultural leaders. Through annual series of seminars related to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the new Schools will make a concrete contribution to the ongoing transitional processes in their countries.

    Read more

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    PopovJulian Popov was appointed Minister of Environment and Water (15.03.2013)

    On 13 March 2013 Julian Popov was appointed Minister of Environment and Water in the Caretaker government of Bulgaria. Mr Popov, Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian School of Politics, is a renowned expert and journalist, who published numerous articles in Bulgarian and European media on European policy, EU enlargement, energy, sustainable development and low carbon economy. For almost twenty years, Mr Popov has been working as an advisor in institutional development, public relations and educational policy for a number of prestigious organisations such as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission, the British Open University and the European Association of Distance Learning Universities. Mr Popov’s recent projects have included work on a “Quality and impact assessment manual for the Schools of Political Studies”, aiming to facilitate knowledge sharing on training methods between Schools and to enhance their capacity to build new partnerships.

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    2012
    Think tanks meeting (05.12.2012)

    On Tuesday 4 December 2012, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland hosted a meeting of directors and representatives from 27 major European think tanks in Strasbourg. The meeting was part of the Council’s efforts to enhance its impact by strengthening the collaboration with all relevant actors having a role in broad conceptual and political debates. Think tanks have become important actors in many policy fields and can provide access to new ideas and innovative approaches.
    (Read more)