Every plenary session, we organise for our members an excellent breakfast with prestigious guest-speakers, who informally discuss with them topics that are related to their activity. Ambassadors, European officials, and experts coming from different sectors of the civil society as well as eminent professors, have come during the years to our association.
(25.10.2018) On Thursday 25 October we welcomed exceptionally two guest speakers at our traditional breakfast – Hervé Moritz and Astrid Lulling. Our members had the opportunity to discuss the importance of the participation of young people at elections with Hervé Moritz, President of the Young European Federalists in France. He presented the initiatives of his association and highlighted that the high participation of young people in associative life does not necessarily translate into political engagement.
At the end of the breakfast, we had the honour to welcome Astrid Lulling, former Member of the European Parliament, who devoted her life to European politics and who came to our association to present her autobiography “Mein Leben als Frau in der Politik”. She told some anecdotes about her political career and she shared her impression about the state of the process of European integration. Meeting these two personalities was a nice way to look at the same time at the past and at the future of the European project.
(4.10.2018) On Thursday 4 October our members had the opportunity to gain insights in the Jewish community in Strasbourg by talking with the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg and Bas-Rhin, Harold Avraham Weill, who shared his experience as Rabbi in Strasbourg and Toulouse and extended his analysis also to the Jewish communities in other European cities.
He focused on the role of young people, who gather regularly to analyse and discuss sacred texts and who play a central function in the continuation of the community’s life.
Moreover, he pointed out the importance of hospitality towards refugees, owing also to the history of the Jewish people, and he reflected on the challenges facing religious dialogue in Strasbourg and Bas-Rhin.
(13.09.2018) How we can ensure the protection of social rights in Europe in order to safeguard democracy? How can we better promote social rights?
On Thursday 13 September our members had the opportunity to discuss about these issues with Giuseppe Palmisano, President of the European Committee of Social Rights. It has been an interesting occasion to learn more about the functioning of this regional human rights body, its strengths and the current challenges that it is facing. Giuseppe Palmisano outlined that
“The protection of social rights and welfare state are per se fundamental democratic institutions; not less than the existence and functioning of sovereign legislative parliaments, the principle of non-discrimination, or equality before the law”.
The event was organised in collaboration with the Amicale of the Council of Europe.
(14.06.18) On Thursday 14 July our members had the opportunity to discuss about the way in which Europe in addressing migration issues with Tomáš Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees, Thorbjørn Jagland.
The mandate mandate of Mr Tomáš Boček is to gather information on how the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees are protected on the ground in the member States of the Council of Europe, and to develop proposals for action at national and European level. He has also undertaken fact-finding missions to hotspots, camps and detention centres in several member States.
The event was organised in collaboration with the Amicale of the Council of Europe.
(31.05.18) On Thursday 31 May, members of the European Parliamentary Association had the honor to welcome Ms Michaela Noll, newly elected President of the German Parliamentary Association, for an informal breakfast debate. Throughout the debate, our members engaged in a fruitful discussion about the political challenges that Europe is facing and on how to strengthen cooperation between our two associations.
The APE sends Ms Noll its best wishes for her new function and hopes to continue the excellent collaboration that it has developed during the years with its German partner.
(8.02.18) What is the European dimension of the “Eurométropole de Strasbourg”? How could this institution better respond to the needs of MEPs and their assistants when they are in Strasbourg?
On Thursday 8 February, our members had the opportunity to ask these and other questions to Mr Robert Herrmann, President of the “Eurométropole de Strasbourg”, which regroups 33 municipalities and is responsible for promoting their common interests.
It has also been an interesting occasion to learn more about the functioning of this important institution.
(18.01.18) On Thursday 18 January, Joseph Daul, former president of the European Parliamentary Association and president of the European People’s Party, intervened during our traditional breakfast to discuss about the activity of our association and the challenges facing Europe in the year before European elections.
“Within next year, the construction of the church of all Saints should be finished and its golden roof will stand out against the city’s sky”.
This was the announcement that hegumen Philippe, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Council of Europe made during our traditional breakfast, on Thursday 16 November 2017.
In his intervention, father Philippe focused on the challenges facing interreligious dialogue, noticing the importance of taking into account the needs of al religious communities, in order to integrate them properly into our societies.
(5.10.17) The government of Emmanuel Macron is moving rapidly to reform French labour laws. What is the content of the new proposals and how could they affect the French economic system?
During our traditional Tursday breakfast, our members discussed about the French labour reform with Vanessa Wagner, Secretary General of the French building federation of Bas-Rhin, Secretary General of the National Federation of SMEs operating in the metallurgy sector and regional councillor for the region “Grand-Est”.
Ms Wagner outlined the pillars of this new reform and presented its potential effects for small and medium enterprises.
“Knowledge is one of the best weapons against euroscepticims, because knowledge knows no frontiers”,
said Michel Deneken, president of the University of Strasbourg, during our breakfast with Hans-Jochen Schiewer, President of the European Campus and rector of the University of Freiburg.
Mr Schiewer presented MEPs the European Campus, a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation aimed at creating “the first European University”, which brings together the Universities of Basel, Freiburg, Haute-Alsace, and Strasbourg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
In this sense, Mr Schiewer explained our members how the five universities are trying to take cross-border cooperation in research and teaching to a new level and thereby gain a key advantage in the international competition for the best minds and ideas.
Indeed, with the expertise and potential of 15,000 researchers and 11,000 PhD-candidates as well as 115,000 students, the European Campus expands into a science and research area without walls and borders and with an international reach.
(15.06.17) How does the European system of protection of human rights work and how effective is it? On Thursday 15 June, during our traditional working breakfast, the members of the APE had the pleasure to discuss this and other related issues with Guido Raimondi, President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
For MEPs, this was an occasion to address to Mr Raimondi several questions related to the respect of human rights in their country of origin and to debate on how the jurisdiction of the ECHR affects national decisions.
Particular attention was given to the situation in France and to the importance of finding a balance between the respect of human rights and the state of emergency (état d’urgence).
This fruitful exchange is part of the continuous effort that the European Parliamentary Association is making to reduce distances between Members of the European Parliament and diplomats working at the Council of Europe.
We thank the Staff Association of the Council of Europe and its President, Mr Denis Huber, who helped us to take contact with Mr Raimondi and arrange his participation in our working breakfast.
“There can be no freedom without security.”
On Thursday 18 May, Ghislain Benhessa, lawyer and author of the book “Rule of Law Facing Terrorism”, came to our association to discuss with our members France’s response to terrorism.
“France is facing the same challenges as the US did after 9/11,” acknowledged Benhessa, “The War on Terror is a legal invention of the US, which France is adopting… However, this concept is bound to the institutional and historical structure of the US, where the President is also commander in chief, and therefore, it is very difficult to transpose it to another legal context, like the French one”.
“The War on Terror is not limited to the years of the Bush administration and does no longer refer to an exceptional situation. It is a fully-fledged response to a threat that is still present,” continued Benhessa, who emphasized the importance of prevention, “The real purpose of Guantanamo is not to obtain information but to avoid that terrorists will go back to their cells. This is the meaning of indefinite detention… John Yoo, legal advisor to Bush, stated that when a country is at war every mean is justified to obtain information”.
“The questions of security and freedom have to be considered as interlinked. There can be no freedom without security. One cannot prevail on the other,” concluded Benhessa.
“We have to give young people wings, so that they can be the wings of Europe.”
It was a message of hope that Monsignor Jean-Pierre Grallet, archbishop of Strasbourg, addressed to the members of the European Parliamentary Association during the breakfast on Thursday 16 February 2017. The archbishop, who came to the association to discuss the role of Christianity in Europe, approached many topics that are at the top of the agenda of the European Union, as migration and the environment. “Politicians and priests strive to find an answer to the same questions”, noted Monsignor Grallet, who invited the Members of the European Parliament to put young generations at the centre of their action. “It is fundamental to let young people speak, to give them the possibility to make their voices heard”, pointed out the archbishop of Strasbourg, making reference to his lifetime engagement with young generations.
(19.01.17) On Thursday 19 January, Mr. Wojciech Sawicki, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), intervened during our traditional breakfast to present the priorities of the Parliamentary Assembly to the Council of Europe for 2017. Mr Sawicki outlined the different challenges the PACE is facing with, focusing particular attention on the backsliding of rights and rule of law in Turkey.
This event was organised in partnership with the Amicale du Conseil de l’Europe and represented an occasion for MEPs and members of the diplomatic corps to exchange on topics that interest the activity of both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
This event is, indeed, part of a broader effort that the APE is undertaking to reduce the distances between the members of these two institutions.
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