Pierre Moscovici and Enrico Letta's conference : L'avenir de l'Europe

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It is now possible to watch Pierre Moscovici and Enrico Letta's conference "L'avenir de l'Europe".

In June 2016, two events underlined the strengthening of the cooperation between SciencesPo and Université de Montréal, two “natural partners” according to Frédéric Mérand, Director at CERIUM.

On 14 June 2016, a hundred people gathered for a debate on the “Future of Europe” with two European figures : Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner and former French economy and finance minister and Enrico Letta, dean of the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs and former Italian prime minister. Former Ambassador to Germany Marie Bernard-Meunier moderated this debate, and three forme Prime minister of Canada and Quebec were attending the event.

Both Commissioner Moscovici and Enrico Letta made a passionate plea for “more leadership in Europe”, saying that it was “not an issue of having weak leaders in office, but rather current leaders needing to be more affirmative about Europe”.

“Europe has just suffered two of the worst crises in post WWII European history” – Enrico Letta

 Calling the financial crisis and the refugee crisis “two of the worst crises in post WWII European history”, Pierre Moscovici and Enrico Letta both recognised that the foundations of the EU “had been shaken”. Yet they consider that Europe has proven its relevance precisely because “no single state could have faced those crises alone”. “The governments of Europe equipped themselves with the tools to face the financial crisis; they are in the process of doing the same for the refugee crisis,” said Enrico Letta. “What made it especially difficult was how quickly the two crises followed each other, but Europe is learning from that.”

“We must fight populism with popular arguments” – Pierre Moscovici

On the issue of rising discontent with the EU, Pierre Moscovici stated that “pro-Europeans are not doing enough to make a positive case for Europe”. In his view, pro-Europeans are leaving “the field open” to Euroscepticism by barely countering the arguments against European integration : “Mainstream political parties need to have a clear commitment to Europe”.

Referring to the Trump phenomenon in the United States, Enrico Letta mentioned that “the issue of rising populism was not a Europe-specific problem”. But both politicians agreed that this was no time for “taking comfort in comparison”. European political leaders have to win back the trust of the electorate and that means taking a positive stance for a popular Europe : “We must fight populism with popular arguments,” said Pierre Moscovici.

“Whatever happens with Brexit, there is only one way and that’s forward.” - Enrico Letta

The conference was held just a week before the “Brexit” referendum. Pierre Moscovici and Enrico Letta were united in their wish to see the UK vote to remain in the European Union. If the UK chose to leave “it would be a blow” but “it wouldn’t lead to a domino effect in Europe”.

“Whatever happens with Brexit, there is only one way and that’s forward” both Pierre Moscovici and Enrico Letta agreed. “The economic rationale is in favor of staying in the European Union,” added the Commissioner who did not exclude “seeing greater monetary and fiscal policy integration amongst the Eurogroup members” as a way forward. “If we don’t move forward, we will become irrelevantin the new world order”, concluded Enrico Letta.


This conference was followed, on June 16, by a launching round table of the new CERI-CERIUM Chair in international studies, with Valerie Amiraux (Sociology, CERIUM), Alain Dieckhoff (CERI, Sciences Po), and Lee Seymour (Political science, CERIUM) on the subject: “Entre chaos et éclatement : le monde en 2016”.

Alain Dieckhoff and Frédéric Mérand explain their ambitions for this Chair by answering the following questions:

-Why did CERI and CERIUM establish a Chair in International Studies? What are its objectives?

-What are the Chair's main research topics to be?

-The Research Chair in International Studies was launched with a conference entitled "Entre chaos et éclatement : le monde en 2016". What were the highlights and key points to take away from this conference?

 Their thoughts on the following page.



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