Programme

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THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE
Conference of the President of the European Economic and Social Committee

Athens, Acropolis Museum, March 1–2, 2018

1st day - Thursday 1 March 2018

9h00     Registration of participants

9h30     Opening: Democracy under pressure

Introductory session of the conference with the participation of high-profile political figures. The main theme is an overview of the different threats to European democracy and its fundamental values.

Chair: Georges Dassis, EESC President

Speakers:

  • Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions

11h00     Coffee break

11h30     Panel 1 : Open markets and Protectionism - Technocracy vs. Democracy

 

This panel will discuss how the transparency of political processes together with open markets can create a strong and sustainable participative society. To enhance transparency, numerous consultation processes and bodies composed of various stakeholders have been established with the aim of bringing the European legislative process closer to the citizen. The panelists will examine the challenges and opportunities linked to these processes and how overregulation and bureaucratization can be tackled to the building and sustaining of open markets and a solid democracy in the EU.

 

Chair: Jacek Krawczyk, President of Employers Group, EESC

Speakers:

  • Georges Katrougalos, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece
  • George Vernikos, President of the Greek Economic and Social Council
  • Jean-Marie Cambacérès, President of the European and International Affairs Section of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council
  • Sabine Selchow, Research Fellow, University of Sydney, and Research Associate, London School of Economics
  • Sofia Katsina, Member of the Athens Bar Association, Member of the Executive Committee of the Greek Economic and Social Council

Discussion with the audience

13h00     Lunch

15h00     Panel 2 : Populism and inequalities as major threats to democracy

A populist rhetoric of various sorts is growing in strength across the democratic world in Europe and elsewhere. In turn, this is enhanced by the rise of inequalities - at all levels - in our society, the economic cost they entail and the problems they pose to social cohesion and to the very exercise of democracy.

 

Chair: Gabriele Bischoff, President of the Workers' Group, EESC

Speakers:

  • Yannis Panagopoulos, President of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE)
  • Michael Hartmann, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Darmstadt Technical University
  • Balázs Krémer, Associate professor, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Debrecen
  • Efi Bekou, Member of the Executive Committee, Greek Economic and Social Council

Discussion with the audience

16h30-17h00              Conclusions (first day)                     

 

2nd day – Friday, 2 March 2018

9h30      Panel 3 : European federalism and national sovereignty

The third panel focuses on a broad debate on the possible future of European integration and the institutional architecture of the EU, considering the differing viewpoints between supporters of building a federal Europe and advocates of the sovereignty of nations in Europe.

Chair: Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests Group, EESC

Speakers:

  • Cecilia Wikström, President of the Conference of European Parliament Committee Chairs
  • Patrick Bernasconi, President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council
  • Conny Reuter, Co-chair of the EESC Liaison Group
  • Marco Lombardo, Professor at the University of Bologna, promoter of the "Rome Manifesto"
  • Christopher Glück, President of Young European Federalists (JEF)

11h00      Coffee break

11h30      Panel 3 : European federalism and national sovereignty (second part)

Discussion with the audience

12h30     Conclusions

  • Georges Dassis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • George Vernikos, President of the Greek Economic and Social Council       

13h00 Closing of the conference