The Festival of the Europe

Everyone knows Florence for its art and culture and the role is has played in a widespread cultural renewal in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is less well known for a minor but nevertheless significant aspect: Florence continuously reflects on the future of Europe. The Tuscan capital is host to the European University Institute, the only academic institution founded by the members of the European Union, which provides an intellectual contribution to the process of European integration. The EUI wishes to enhance this aspect by organising the “Festival of the Europe”, a biennial event which is structured along various lines:

1. A Conference on the State of the Union

The conference is divided into several sections to discuss the main areas of competence of the European Union. The first part is dedicated to institutional issues, followed by a session (in rotation by groups or by topic) which will vary throughout the years on the basis of topical interest. For the 2011 edition it was decided to organise a conference of 2 days, the first of which will focus on institutional matters: Europe after Lisbon and its role in a globalised world. The second day will deal with economical issues; the Euro and Economic Global Governance in the morning session, and Growth, Employment and International Financial Stability in the afternoon. The international conference will see the participation of the foremost European decision makers (commissioners, ministers of various European countries, journalists, academics). At this moment, the presence of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Jerzy Buzel, President of the European Parliament, Franco Frattini, Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton, High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Lorenzo Bini Smaghi of the European Central Bank has been confirmed.

2. Collateral events to promote the EU

This is the most innovative part of the project, which consists in: exhibitions, stands and seminars on European matters Cultural and educational activities in the main squares of the city of Florence (Awards for students who excel in their commitment to European themes) The presence of students from both the University of Florence and EUI in debates on the European Union Exhibitions, shows, concerts and theatre plays which are inspired by the Festival dell’Europa Film exhibitions as “Notte Blu”, dedicated to the European Union, the launch in Italy of the EU programme “Youth on the move”. These collateral events aim to make Florence a “creative laboratory” promoting Europe amongst its inhabitants.

The event has been conceived by the EUI but is being managed in collaboration with local authorities. An Organising Committee is being chaired by Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence, and sees the participation of the EUI, the City of Florence, the Provincia, the Regione, the University of Florence, the Chamber of Commerce, representatives in Rome of the European Commission and Parliament and the Agency Life Long Learning.

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