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Brussels, 7 September 2009

Explaining European integration: 20 years of support to EU studies around the world

This year's 20 th anniversary edition of the annual Jean Monnet Conference celebrates the contribution of academic studies to the European integration process and to better knowledge about the EU worldwide. Professors of EU studies, supported through the Jean Monnet Programme, will draw on their expertise and experience in teaching Europe to feed a dialogue between academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from around the globe on current EU policy questions, including the constitutional evolution of the EU, the current economic downturn and the Euro.

The 2009 Jean Monnet Conference will be held in Brussels on 7-8 September and is entitled "20 years of support to European Integration Studies: From the Jean Monnet Action to the Jean Monnet Programme" . Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Ján Figel' , Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, will participate in the event.

Since 1989, the EU has encouraged the study of European integration around the world through what is today the Jean Monnet Programme. The Programme supports professors specialised in European integration, at universities in 62 countries on the five continents, reaching a quarter million students every year.

President Barroso said: " Europe's raison d'être is to empower Europeans, to protect their rights and to foster social progress. In the age of globalisation, the EU represents a real plus for Europeans as they try to build a better future, and allows them to shape the world we live in with confidence. With decades of experience in transnational cooperation, the EU is a natural test-bed for globalisation and an instinctive champion of global governance. As Jean Monnet expressed: "The Community itself is just another step towards the forms of organisation of tomorrow's world." Since 20 years now the Jean Monnet programme has been an important vehicle for analysing and promoting our European model of transnational cooperation in Europe and worldwide."

Commissioner Figel' underlined that, " the Jean Monnet network constitutes a unique pool of excellence and expertise in European integration. Its professors and academic experts are world-class experts who play a crucial role in explaining Europe both worldwide and to the EU's own citizens ".

Jean Monnet - 20 years of support to EU integration studies

In the past twenty years, the Jean Monnet network, which has expanded to comprise 146 Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence, 839 Jean Monnet Chairs and 2060 Jean Monnet Modules (short courses on European integration), has been crucial in spreading knowledge and understanding about the history and workings of the EU in the Member States and around the world.

At this year's Jean Monnet conference, professors from each of the five continents will reflect on their experience in the past twenty years of researching and teaching EU studies in their own countries and the impact of EU studies on relations between their home countries and the EU. The highlight of the conference will be an exchange of experiences between Jean Monnet professors from Central and Eastern European Member States and candidate countries on the practical aspects of providing guidance during the accession process to the EU.

The final element of the conference will be an up-to-date academic analysis of current pressing issues facing the EU. In the presence of high-level policy makers, the Jean Monnet professors will discuss:

  • the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the EU's decision-making capacities and democracy;

  • the world-wide economic downturn and the role of the Euro;

  • migration;

  • Euro-Mediterranean relations; and

  • intercultural dialogue.

Previous Jean Monnet Conferences have dealt with such topics as sustainable development, equal opportunities, globalisation and citizenship, and have served to conceive and announce important initiatives such as the European neighbourhood policy and the Commission's approach to intercultural dialogue.

To find out more:

European Commission: The Jean Monnet Programme

European Commission: Jean Monnet annual conference 7-8 September 2009 [including conference programme]

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