Event Summary: "What Kind of Europe Do We Want?" and "Europe's Next Day"


A week before the European elections in June, decision-makers, experts and academicians in Greece engaged with the public to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the European Union over the next five years. The aim of the two events was to highlight the importance of the elections while simultaneously encouraging increased citizen participation.

ELIAMEP, as part of the EUact2 project, organized events on the topics of " Addressing EU's next Challenges" and "Europe's Next Day" on 30 May 2024 in Patras and "Europe after the European Elections: Challenges and Opportunities" in Thessaloniki on 31 May 2024. It sought to maximize the opportunity to reach a new audience beyond Athens. The audience in Patras was a mix of professionals, local and national officials, experts and media. In Thessaloniki, the event was dominated by young people. More than 104 people participated, 36% of whom were women, and 64% were men. The events were in situ and live-streamed. The highlight was a debate with the European Commission's Vice President Margaritis Schinas.

In Patras two discussions were held involving George Dikaios (Lecturer and Researcher, University of Athens & Senior Researcher, UNESCO Chair for Climate Diplomacy), Fokion Zaimis (Vice-Regional Governor of the Region of Achaia), Alekos Kritikos (Special Advisor ELIAMEP, former EU Executive) and Vladislava Gubalova (Senior Fellow at GLOBSEC) and moderated by Fanis Papathanasiou, Journalist, ERT (National Broadcasting Authority) as well as a chat between Fay Makantasi, Research Director, of the Think Tank DiaNEOsis and Professor Spyros Blavoukos, Professor at AUEB and Head of the 'Ariane Contellis' European Programme at ELIAMEP.

Main takeaways

  • Europe is becoming conservative, and "what is commonly said to be green action is not green"; thus, the EU is struggling to achieve its green goals (George Dikaios).
  • The connection between European and local policies is integral and needs to be adapted to new realities.
  • Despite the enlargement of the past years, the EU is economically shrinking. Geopolitical shifts could lead to significant disruptions, and the Union needs to strive for economic unity.
  • The core values on which the Union was founded are under threat, with democratic backsliding particularly concerning. Reactive policies are necessary but not a sufficient tool—engage citizens, educate, and connect.
  • "When you face existential threats, you are compelled to transcend your limits. And that is precisely what the EU has done." (Spyros Blavoukos).
  • "The illusions we had about tough and persistent representatives, who strictly pounded their fists on the negotiating table, are over. We now need representatives with ethics, quality, and skills who will negotiate and work hard for the collective good of the EU" (Spyros Blavoukos and Fay Makantasi).

In Thessaloniki, the event included an open debate with the Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, moderated by Philios Staigkos (Director, ERT3) and a talk with Georgios Andreou (Associate Professor of Political Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Dimitrios Kyriazis (Assistant Professor of Law, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Lina Papadopoulou (Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Spyros Blavoukos (Professor, Athens University of Economics and Business, Head of the European Programme 'Ariane Condellis' at ELIAMEP).

Main takeaways

  • Today's European representative democracy is like a snowball that grows as it rolls.
  • The achievements of the last five years have demonstrated Europe's ability to help its citizens, many of whom understand the importance of communication better, but much more work on communicating with citizens is necessary.
  • This is a pivotal year with the rise of the far-right and Eurosceptic forces in Europe and elections in the USA. The direction of our democracies is at stake.


Obrázok, na ktorom je snímka obrazovky, písmo, elektrická modrá, grafika

Automaticky generovaný popis