Marise Cremona reflects on her year as president
This September Joseph H. H. Weiler, currently based at New York University’s Department of Law, will take over the EUI presidency. At the end of her term as president ad interim, Marise Cremona reflects on the past year.
“It has been a time in which to make certain key decisions to enable the next president to move forward strategically,” says Marise, who in recent months has presided over numerous appointments, a service merger and the “opening for business” of Villa Salviati.
“I’ve had very constructive conversations on a number of strategic issues with the EUI community: with the Faculty, the management team and staff committee, the researchers and the Member States in the High Council,” she says.
One key change has been the merging of the Buildings Service and the Logistics Service, which in October created the Real Estate and Facilities Service. The first great challenge for the new service has been moving the Historical Archives of the European Union to Villa Salviati. “They [the archives] are themselves a wonderful resource to the Institute and the new director [Dieter Schlenker] is making great efforts to ensure that people in the Institute and outside are aware of the riches that are available there.
“The next phase will be moving the main body of the administration to Villa Salviati so it will really become part of the Institute’s fundamental infrastructure,” Marise says. This will take place in June.
The president has also been involved in the appointment to a number of important academic positions during her term. Brigid Laffan, currently based at University College Dublin, will take over from Stefano Bartolini as director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies this September. A new director of the Max Weber Programme for Postdoctoral Studies is also due to arrive in 2014, as Ramon Marimon departs to take up the EUI Chair in Macroeconomics in January 2014.
Additionally, Marise has overseen the implementation of an agreement between the Russian government and the EUI which funds Russian researchers and the newly-created Mikhail M. Bakhtin Chair in Russia-Europe Relations. Alexander Etkind from the University of Cambridge, described as “an inspiring scholar” by the president, will take this position from September.
To ease the process of relocation for professors, Marise has been working on a new contractual framework for the employment of partners and spouses. Although it is starting on a small scale this is a significant development: it “allows us to offer part-time contracts in a flexible way to partners who have skills which are appropriate to the needs of the EUI,” says Marise.
“From the point of view of attracting the best possible faculty, this is an essential part of our recruitment policy,” the president says, explaining that this type of contract may be annually renewed but is tied to the term of the partner professor’s contract.
Marise herself will be relocating from the Badia to Villa Schifanoia in September, returning to her position as a professor within the Department of Law. This will allow her to return to research, writing and spending more time with her supervisees. “I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve enjoyed doing the job very much,” Marise says of the presidency. “But I shall be pleased to go back to being a full-time academic.”