EIN Summer University 2018 - Riga : The European Way of Life
One of the many charms of being European is to live in diversity, and yet in this diversity we are able to distinguish ourselves from other parts of the world.
This is why this year’s European Ideas Network Summer University in Riga, the main political event organised by the largest political group in the European Parliament, is going to be devoted to a discussion on the future of the European way of life.
From a challenging past to a bright future
From a challenging past to a bright future, the European path has been thorny but it has been one which has been lauded by the dreamers, challenged by the haters, but most importantly it has been constructed by the makers. Europe stands at a crossroads today where it is again time for the makers to address the challenges of these times while drawing on what it means to be European.
Symbol of freedom and the European way of life
Just as Lech Wałęsa answered the challenges of his time when he became a symbol of freedom and the European way of life by standing up to totalitarian communism. In Riga, the EPP Group will award Wałęsa with the Francisco Lucas Pires EIN Merit Award, an award for achievements in promoting the European project.
A real debate about a Europe
Climate protection has to go hand in hand with growth, free and fair trade with citizen's rights, we need tough anti-terror laws while preserving real freedoms, we need to stop irregular migration but help people in need, we must promote innovation but be at the service of the people. This is what the EPP Group stands for and this is what we want to put on the European agenda; a real debate about a Europe of responsibility, a Europe of opportunity, a Europe of security and a Europe of values.
Looking beyond the politics
The EIN Summer University looks beyond the politics and connects with those who are impacted by our policies in order to sketch the best way ahead. In this regard, we want to highlight a special panel where we will hear from young Europeans about what they think it means to be European.
Have your say!
Young Europeans tell us what they believe being European is all about.
Young people across Europe arguably benefit the most from European integration yet participate least in its political life. The most striking example of this was the vote on Brexit where the percentage of those voting was lowest among the 18-24 age group, yet they voted over 70% for Remain.
Change the odds
We in the EPP Group want to change those odds. We are fighting for the future, for freedom and for the European way of life just as the then 25 year-old Lech Wałęsa did, when in 1968 he started an activist career that would culminate into one of the most influential freedom movements of the modern era - one that helped topple communism in Poland. In Riga, we will award Wałęsa with the EIN Francisco Lucas Pires Merit Award, an award for achievements in promoting the European project.
We wanted young Europeans to have their say which is why we called on them to present concrete projects that best describe what being European means for them. Young people were given a chance to participate as Youth Ambassadors in this year’s EIN Summer University - individually or as a team - by submitting their creative and thought-provoking ideas on ‘Tomorrow’s European Way of Life’.
We had 17.400 visitors to our competition blog from the beginning of February until the deadline for applications in April.
We received 29 eligible applications, of which we selected three projects.
- Imelda Minnock from Ireland (age 21) with her project:
Connecting Education: an EU Association of Teachers
- Mathieu Brun (age 24) and Michaël Yan (age 22) from France:
The recipe for a European Way of Life
- Rolando Andrade Matamoro (age 20) and Guillermo González Molina (age 21) from Spain:
European Comprehensive Development Aid Programme
The winners will present their projects at the conference as well as participate in discussions about the European way of life with EU leaders, lawmakers, experts and other networkers.
EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber and Lech Wałęsa
Award to Lech Wałęsa
The Riga Summer University is the 17th event to take place since its creation. This year, the highlight of the event will be the awarding of the EIN Francisco Lucas Pires Merit Award, an award for achievements in promoting the European project, to Lech Wałęsa. Wałęsa, an iconic leader of the Solidarność movement, was instrumental in bringing freedom to the then Communist Poland. The activities of Wałęsa and his colleagues in Solidarność forced the Communist regime into holding parliamentary elections which, although limited, led to the establishment of a non-Communist government. On the wings of the freedom movement that swept the continent, Wałęsa became the first democratic President of Poland. He is a symbol of freedom and of the European way of life, both of which the EPP Group defends.
Two days of debates
During the two-day event, debates will be held on external policies of the Union and development, on economic growth, industrial competitiveness, research and innovation, on EU security & defence and strategies on counter terrorism and extremism, and on a Union of values.
The event will also tackle the widespread phenomenon of fake news and disinformation, as well as debate the challenges Europe is facing in these times of Trump, Putin and the eroding stability situation in our immediate neighbourhood.
New thinking on the key challenges
The EIN is an open, pan-European think-tank designed to promote new thinking on the key challenges facing the countries of the European Union. Sponsored by the EPP Group, the largest political group in the European Parliament, the network was launched in the summer of 2002 and has rapidly emerged as an important meeting point and intellectual crossroads for the centre-right in European politics.