The European Parliamentary Association organises over the year a huge variety of events . To know more about our upcoming events, see below.
Since January 2015, France and the rest of Europe have been hit by a wave of terror and are facing the same challenges of the US after 9/11.
France reacted by introducing the so called “état d’urgence”. Soldiers were and still are patrolling the streets, police raids have been conducted day and night throughout France, numerous arrests were made and even more people set under house arrest.
Was this reaction effective?
Has France to reinforce security at the expense of freedoms? To detain the blacklisted ones? To introduce exceptional measures to prevent new attacks?
And what role could the European Union play to prevent terrorist attacks?
We will try to answer these questions during our next Thursday breakfast, on 18 May, starting at 8 am, in our villa.
For this occasion, the French lawyer Ghislain Benhessa, PhD, will present the content of his book “Rule of Law Facing Terrorism: Should we follow the American example?”, where he analyses the action of legal councils from Bush and Obama administrations and describes the stakes of this complex debate, where law and moral requirements face political and war ones.
For more information, please contact our General Secretariat.
Europe is facing an increasingly dangerous mix of security threats. The deterioration of the conflict in Syria, widespread turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa and Russia’s renewed military activism are creating instability at European external borders.
These international threats, together with the internal menace of terrorism, generate fear and uncertainty in EU Member States. Throughout the continent, the shortcomings of the insufficient level of cooperation on intelligence, police, justice and defence are becoming more and more evident to public opinion.
In the last months, two main events gave new impetus to the process of European integration in the fields of defense and security. On the one hand, with the decision of Britain to invoke Article 50 on 29 March 2017, one of the largest defence spenders in the European Union is about to leave. Indeed, almost 25% of EU defence expenditure currently comes from the UK, and Britain has historically obstructed any moves towards a common EU military. On the other hand, US President Donald Trump repeatedly called into question the commitment of his country to NATO and this led Members States to start a discussion on the necessity of rethinking the pillars of our common security.
What is the way forward in the pursuit of a common European defense? Is it time for an EU common army? How, when and for what purpose should this army be used?
On Wednesday 17 May, we will ask Members of the European Parliament from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their position on these questions.
MEPs will be invited to the European Parliamentary Association to informally discuss with four leading experts on European security and defense. These are: MEP Michael Gahler, EPP Group Spokesperson on Security and Defence, MEP Eva Kaili, Chair of the EP Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, MEP Klaus Buchner, Member of the subcommittee on Security and Defense and Brigadier General Franz Pfrengle of the EUROCORPS, former Mission Commander for the EU Training Mission in Mali.
Olivier Mirguet, correspondent of the French newspaper La Tribune (http://www.latribune.fr/), will moderate the debate.
Michael Gahler (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, EPP) is Member of the European Parliament since 1999. Previously, he served in the diplomatic service under ministers Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Klaus Kinkel and Joschka Fischer.
In the current legislature, Gahler is chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and of the Delegation for relations with South Africa. He is substitute in the Committee on Transport and Tourism and in the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
Gahler is EPP Group spokesperson on Security and Defence, chair of the Kangaroo Group and member of the European Parliament’s Sky and Space Intergroup.
He is also Vice-President of the European Parliamentary Association.
Eva Kaili (Panhellenic Socialist Movement – Olive Tree, S&D) seats in the European Parliament since 2014, where she is member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, of the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion and chair of the Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. She is also substitute in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, in the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and in the Delegation for relations with the United States.
Previously, she has been member of the Hellenic Parliament for the first district of Thessaloniki since 2009. While holding this post, she has been, among other things, member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the Committee for National Defense and Foreign Affairs.
Klaus Buchner (Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) is Member of the European Parliament since 2014. He is physicist and university professor and he has been chair of his party from 2003 to 2010.
As MEP, he is currently member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and of the Delegation for relations with Iran.
Franz Xaver Pfrengle is Brigadier General at the EUROCORPS. Graduate engineer, he joined the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) in 1975. He has been Commander of the German Army Officer School (2008-2011), Chief of Staff Operations at the EUROCORPS (since 2015) and Mission Commander of the EU Training Mission in Mali (in 2015).
For more information about the organisation of the event, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat.
The next 12 months, with elections in France and Germany, could remake the European Union. Since a long time, presidential races in these two Member States have not been so unpredictable and, according to their result, they could impress different types of turning points to the process of European integration.
What will be the impact on Europe of the elections in France and Germany? What are the different scenarios?
The APE decided to invite the Members of the European Parliament and the diplomats of the Council of Europe for an informal dinner debate, on Wednesday 5 April at 8 pm, to discuss these and other questions with two prestigious guest speakers coming from Berlin and Paris. These are Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Member of the German Bundestag, where he holds the post of Chairman of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, and Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (Parti socialiste), Member of the French National Assembly, where he is Chairman of the Franco-German Friendship Group.
As for our previous debates, the moderator will be Daniel Köster, spokesperson of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
The organisation of this event would have not been possible without the support of the German Parliamentary Association, with which the APE has established a solid and fruitful cooperation and which will be represented by its Internal Auditor, Gunther Krichbaum, and its Secretary General, Bernd Wichterich.
The Maltese Presidency has reached the halfway point in a very symbolic moment for the European Union, i.e. the 60th of the Treaties of Rome. Europe is at a turning point and this is made clear by the priorities that Malta has established for its six-moth term of Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Migration, the Single Market, Security, Social Inclusion, Europe’s Neighborhood, and Maritime Policy, on the one hand, reflect some of the biggest challenges that are facing the European Union and, on the other hand, bring forward some especially important issues for Member States that are on the external border of the Union.
For several years now, the European Parliamentary Association has been striving to promote the history, the culture and the political activity of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This will be also the case with the Maltese Presidency, which will find place in our program for the plenary session of April with two events.
On Monday 3 April, starting at 8 am, MEPs and their assistants, diplomats of the Council of Europe and members of the civil society of Strasbourg will all be invited to the opening event of our “Days of Malta”, an initiative organised in collaboration with the Permanent Representation of Malta to the Council of Europe. For this occasion, our guests will have the pleasure to visit the exhibition “Malta – 7000 years of history” and watch the documentary “Malta: Cruise in the Land of the Knights”.
The projection of the film will be followed by a cocktail with Maltese specialties and by a spirits tasting offered by our sponsor, the renowned Alsation distillery “Massenez”.
To participate to this event, contact our general secretariat at: email@example.com or + 33 (0)3 88 25 19 49.
The Days of Malta will then continue on Thursday, with a breakfast with Ambassador Joseph Filletti, Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe, who will come to our association to present our members with a Maltese perspective on Southern European Neighborhood Policy. Neighborhood policy is one of the six priorities of the Maltese Presidency. Countries bordering the Southern Mediterranean are indeed facing serious challenges, including armed conflict, terrorism, political instability and radicalisation. That is why the Maltese Presidency, aware of the potential ripple effects of instability beyond Europe’s borders, is focusing EU engagement on the stabilisation of its neighborhood.
On Wednesday 15 March 2017, starting at 8 pm, the European Parliamentary Association will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, with few days in advance.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in almost every country in Europe and it represents an important occasion to commemorate the ongoing social, economic, cultural, democratic, religious and scientific contribution of Ireland to Europe over many centuries.
This is the second year that APE organises this kind of event, whose aim is to offer to the Members of the European Parliament, to their assistants and to the members of the civil society an opportunity to discover national traditions and to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, overcoming national and political barriers.
Also this year, we will have the pleasure to welcome Ms Mairead McGuinness, Vice-president of the European Parliament, as keynote speaker. Her intervention will be followed by the greetings of Ambassador Keith McBean, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the Council of Europe and member of our association.
Many surprises are waiting for our guests. They will enjoy an unforgettable evening with traditional Irish food, Irish music and special St. Patrick’s Day drinks, prepared for this occasion by our partner, the renowned Alsatian distillery “Massenez”.
Every participant will receive some special gifts, especially intended to immerse him or her in the theme of the evening, and the luckiest ones will go home with one of the amazing prizes of our special lottery, sponsored by our partner “Galeries Lafayette Strasbourg”.
For more information, please contact our General Secretariat.
Religion and, in particular, Christianity played a significant role in the establishment and development of the European project.
However, although today the majority of European citizens still describes itself as Christian, only 51% of them believe that God actually exists (Eurobarometer 341, Page 204). Religion and faith are losing ground in Europe: Younger generations believe less and less in God, especially in cities, and churches regret poorer attendance at their services.
Nevertheless, while facing the challenges hitting our continent and unity, European policy makers constantly refer to the Christian roots of European values. In this regard, discussions about the importance of freedom of religion and of Christian principles are held quite frequently and put the question of faith back into the spotlight. But what will be the role of the churches in the years to come, and particularly of the Catholic Church, which is still the biggest religious community in Europe? And how can religious institutions help to solve the crises in Europe?
To debate this topic, the European Parliamentary Association has invited Mgr. Jean-Pierre Grallet, who is archbishop of Strasbourg since 2007, to its traditional breakfast meeting on 16 February 2017 from 8 am to 9 am.
The bishop was ordained as priest in 1969, after studying Catholic theology and history in Nancy. Being a former religion teacher and student priest in Strasbourg and Metz, Mgr. Grallet has a lot of experience with the relevance of faith in life of Europeans, especially of young people. Since he is also the French member of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the archbishop surely will lift the debate onto the European level, too.
The COMECE is a Commission made up of Catholic Bishops who are delegated from the national Bishops’ conferences of the 28 countries of the European Union. The aim of the Commission is to monitor the policy making of the EU and form a dialogue with its institutions to present to the politicians and the public the current concerns and opinions of the Catholic Church.
Please contact our General Secretariat for more information.
On Monday 16 January, the European Parliamentary Association will host its traditional New Year’s Concert to wish its members and its friends a happy new year 2017. The students of the Superior Academy of Music of Strasbourg, directed by the Austrian conductor Theodor Guschlbauer, will entertain our guests for around an hour with some excerpts of Krumpholtz, Prokofiev, Thomas, Parish-Alvars, Ravel, Debussy, Brahms.
THE SUPERIOR ACADEMY OF MUSIC OF STRASBOURG – The Academy constitutes the music department of the Haute École des Arts du Rhin (HEAR), a pole of excellence on the French and international scene for the preparation of enlightened musicians and visual artists.
The Academy regroups students of more than 30 different nationalities and counts among its professors several artists that are renowned on the French and international musical scene. During their training, the students of the Superior Academy have the opportunity to collaborate with several Alsatian prestigious musical institutions, as the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Opéra du Rhin”, the “Parlement de musique”, the Jazzdor festival and many others.
THEODOR GUSCHLBAUER – He is an Austrian conductor and has directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the ‘Gewandhaus Orchestra’ of Leipzig, the Paris Orchestra, the “Scala Orchestra” in Milan, the RAI Orchestra of Turin and the London Symphonic Orchestra.
From 1969 to 1975 he was musical director of the “Opéra de Lyon”.
From 1983 to 1997, he has been chief conductor of the Philarmonic Orchestra of Strasbourg.
The concert will start at 8 pm and will be followed by a cocktail with Alsatian specialties. For more information, contact our general secretariat (+33(0)3 88 25 19 49 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
On Thursday 19 November, the European Parliamentary Association will have the pleasure to welcome Mr. Wojciech Sawicki, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Mr. Sawicki will intervene during our traditional Thursday morning breakfast to present the priorities of the PACE for 2017.
WHO IS WOJCIECH SAWICKI? – He heads the secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 2010. He is currently serving his second term, as he was re-elected in September 2015 for other five years.
For the period 1990-1996 he was Secretary General of the Polish Senate, the first to hold this post after the collapse of communism, and, performing this function, he played a leading role in helping to re-establish democracy in Poland.
THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe plays a fundamental role in the activity of the Council of Europe, i.e. the international organisation that is based in Strasbourg and that, since 1949, is promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. The PACE defines itself the “democratic conscience of Greater Europe”.
It brings together 324 deputies from the parliaments of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states and, therefore, speaks on behalf of 800 million Europeans.
The Assembly holds government to account over their human rights records, and presses states to achieve and maintain democratic standards, both in Europe and in neighboring regions. In this regard, governments must give a collective reply to the text adopted by the Assembly.
Moreover, the PACE plays a crucial role in the improvement of Europe’s laws and practices, as it acts a “motor” Council of Europe and as a guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, which originated in the Assembly in 1950.
According to its President, Predro Agramunt, the PACE is currently facing four existential challenges: transnational terrorism, the refugee crisis, conflicts that remain unresolved – like in Ukraine or Transnistria, the rising of nationalism and the consequent erosion of democratic principles and human rights.
Participation to the breakfast is open to the members of our association and to their collaborators. The breakfast will begin at 8 am. For more information, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat (+33(0)3 88 25 19 49 or email@example.com).