EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini gives keynote speech in Maastricht
On 28 September 2017, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Centre for European Research in Maastricht (CERiM) jointly organised a conference on “Thinking Europe Forward”, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht. Bringing together politicians, academics and some 200 students from Maastricht University, the conference provided an opportunity to discuss current issues and future challenges confronting Europe.
The highlight of the day was the keynote lecture by EU’s High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. In her speech, Ms. Mogherini shared her thoughts on the issues that the European Union has to face but also touched upon her personal experiences as a student. Her message to the UM students in the audience was about the importance of taking action and being engaged with European issues.
The conference was opened at the Gouvernment of the Province of Limburg, by Kings Commissioner, Governor of the Province of Limburg, Mr. Theo Bovens, and the Vice President of Maastricht University, Dr. Nick Bos. The former President of the European Parliament and current president of the KAS, Dr. Hans Gert Pöttering, gave the welcome speech on the importance of the European idea and the positive role of Europe’s youth.
The second part of the conference took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and consisted of four parallel workshops on some of the key issues of European affairs arising from the Maastricht Treaty and still remaining on the top of the agenda today: the reform of the Eurozone, the common foreign policy of the EU, the rise of populism, and role of the youth in the future of Europe. The debate in each workshop was introduced by an eminent speaker - Dr. Katharina Gnath (Senior Project Manager of the Bertelsmann Stiftung), Mr. René van der Linden (Former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), Prof. Gianfranco Pasquino (Professor Emeritus of Political Science University of Bologna) on populism, and Mr. Jeroen Lenaers (Member of the European Parliament) – who then discussed with the students how best to tackle the issues arising in these fields.
After the workshops, a roundtable, chaired by CERiM Co-director Thomas Christiansen, brought the invited speakers together to debate the issues arising from the workshops with the audience. This engaging discussion concluded a day which provided unique opportunities for UM students to meet and actively debate the future of Europe with current and former decision-makers.
The conference was closed by Dr. Hardy Ostry, the Head of the KAS European Office in Brussels.