EUI hosts State of the Union conference

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prodiLast week the EUI hosted the annual State of the Union conference, culminating in speeches by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, EU High Commissioner Federica Mogherini and Frans Timmermans First Vice-President of the European Commission at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence’s city centre.

The State of the Union is a four day event which explores ideas around European integration, governance and Europe’s wider relations with the world. This year saw more than 1,500 policymakers, researchers and journalists descend on Florence to debate the most pressing challenges facing Europe today. Speakers included Tony Barber, Europe Editor of the Financial Times, Italian statesman Giorgio Napolitano and Pedro Passos Coelho, Prime Minister of Portugal.

The conference centred on four themes: surveillance and freedom in Europe, the interface of Europe with the world, a new Schuman declaration and the Alcide de Gasperi research centre.

This year also saw the presentation of the SURVEILLE research project findings, which was headed by Martin Scheinin, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the EUI. SURVEILLE (Surveillance: Ethical Issues, Legal Limitations, and Efficiency) uses a multidisciplinary approach to exploring surveillance and privacy in Europe.

Scheinin additionally delivered the State of the Union address where he outlined his hopes for “a more rational and holistic assessment of how the famous “balance” between privacy and security can be struck”. He went on to condemn Europe’s response to the migration crisis and called for more concerted efforts by Europe’s leaders to deal with climate change.

 You can watch all interviews with the speakers here: Photos can be viewed here: