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The European Union — between Consolidation and Expansion

The expert conference “The European Union — between Consol­i­dation and Expansion” took place from 21 to 22 September 2006 in co-operation with the Academic Direc­torate of the IEP.

This conference was supported by the Fritz Thyssen foundation, the Centre Inter­na­tional de Formation Européenne and the European Commission.

See the detailed conference report.

The concluding words of this conference were delivered by Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who, with an optimistic outlook to the German Council presi­dency in the first half of 2007, sketched the current challenges of the EU and also empha­sised the historical successes of the European integration project. In order to be able to build upon this positive balance, Barroso said that it was necessary to win back the trust of the citizens in the EU as a grand and worth­while project.

Clearly the Commission president was full of optimism, enthu­siasm and zeal. During the conference of the Institute for European Politics, which brought together approx­i­mately 50 experts from academia, politics and admin­is­tration, the mood was sober. In view of the diverse challenges with which the EU is confronted, this is completely under­standable. Above all, one thing became clear during the two days of intensive delib­er­ation on the situation of the EU between Consol­i­dation and Expansion: It is easier to identify and analyse current strategic dilemmas and funda­mental political questions of the EU than to present convincing answers and practical solutions to these problems.

As part of the conference, the 25-year anniversary of the Yearbook of European Integration was also celebrated. In his lecture, former president of the European Commission Jacques Santer delivered a very personal look back at these 25 years, which he very much helped to shape and define in diverse and meaningful ways. A somewhat shortened version of the speech was published in the 4/06 edition of the journal integration.