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.
(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?
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 in 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, in this way, 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 about 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 about France’s response to terrorism.
“France is facing the same challenges of the US 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 a 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 of 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 broader effort that the APE is undertaking to reduce the distances between the members of these two institutions.
(24.11.16) On 24 November 2016, our members had the pleasure to meet Daniel Costello, Ambassador of Canada to the EU, and to debate with him the newest developments of the CETA, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
(6.10.16) On 6 October 2016, our members had the pleasure to meet the executive director of the German Parliamentary Association of Berlin, Bernd Wichterich. With more than 1000 members, the German Parliamentary Association promotes the dialogue among German parliamentarians of different political groups. The breakfast was an occasion to renew the dialogue and the collaboration among our two associations.
(15.09.16) On Thursday 15 September 2016, we had the pleasure to welcome Jean-Paul Costa, former President of the European Court of Human Rights, for our traditional breakfast debate. He presented the activity of the Court to our members and he discussed with them the challenges facing human rights defenders in Europe and in the neighbouring countries.
(9.06.16) On Thursday 9 June 2016, our members had the pleasure to meet Anthony Gardner, US Ambassador to the European Union, and discuss with him the future of the relations between the US and the EU.
(12.05.16) On Tuesday the 12 May 2016, the members of the APE welcomed Bernard Kirch, Head of Operation Department European Agency for the operational managment of the large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA), to discuss with him about the Schengen information system.
(4.02.16) On Thursday 4 February 2016, the members of our association had the pleasure to meet and discuss with Frédéric Bierry, President of the Conseil Départemental du Bas-Rhin.
(21.01.16) In January, the members of the APE had the chance to discuss with Frédérique Berrod, Professor at the University of Strasbourg and at the European College Bruges, about a the future of European energy policies.