25. September 2012

28 European young professionals visited Brussels from 16 – 22 September 2012 to take part in the second FutureLab Europe Annual Forum, which took place at the offices of the European Policy Centre. The topic of this year’s programme was ‘How can the European project be salvaged?’ and the five days of the programme were divided into several themes.

Monday was a scene-setting day, including an introduction to ‘EU Brussels’ and a panel debate with Richard Corbett from the office of European Council President Van Rompuy, Mats Persson, Director from the Open Europe think-tank and an EPC Senior Policy Analyst Janis A. Emmanouilidis. One of the highlights of the day was an after-dinner speech by Sir Julian Priestley, former Secretary-General of the European Parliament.

“More at stake than just a crisis of currency”

Tuesday’s theme was ‘Restoring trust’ in Europe’s policies and institutions, featuring among others Philippe Legrain, economic adviser to the President of the European Commission and Fabian Zuleeg, EPC Chief Economist. Participants then held a private meeting with Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs.

“Though it is a political, economic and social crisis, the main task is to define values – it thus follows that it risks being a crisis of values. To be able to create a community based on mutual understandings we probably need some sort of convention to gather people and negotiate.”

The participants spent Wednesday ‘job-shadowing’ a key stakeholder, policy maker, or institution. Thursday was devoted to the role of Europe in the increasingly multi-polar world. After attending the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, where Franziska Brantner MEP was the host, and meeting with Marietje Shaake, MEP participants discussed with Daniel Korski, Adviser to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Cathy Ahston, and Rosa Balfour, EPC Senior Policy Analyst.

“We must not forget that Europe has used a long time to achieve the democratic foundation we have today.”

The group concluded on Friday by discussing ideas and possibilities to promote voices of Europe’s young people. The participants will now help organise public discussions and surveys in several European countries, including a public conference to be held in Brussels in the spring of 2013. They will also publish their own ideas on the policy issues and challenges facing Europe to the futurelabeurope.eu website and develop individual projects.