First edition of “Conversations about day-to-day Europe” great success

14 December 2010

The 10th December 2010 marked the very promising start of a series of debates called Conversations about day-to-day Europe. On this first evening renowned guests were challenged to enter a debate and, what was rightly expected to become a lively conversation with the audience, on the theme “Morals, Identity and Citizenship”. The invitation was gracefully accepted by both speakers and the near 80 people that chose to pass this evening engaging in a stimulating discussion. After a starting intervention from Bruno De Lille, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, the Civil Service, Equal Opportunities and Administrative Simplification, it was time for the distinguished guests of this kick-off event to take over. On stage gathered: • Luuk van Middelaar political philosopher and author of "De passage naar Europe" – Member of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy; • Paul Scheffer, writer and publicist – Professor of Urban Sociology at the University of Amsterdam; • Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher, director of the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics of the University of Louvain (UCL), Visiting Professor at the philosophy departments of Harvard University and the K.U.Leuven, and; • Annelies Beck (VRT journalist) who masterfully moderated this highly thought provoking conversation. One of the starting statements for the concept of this series of conversations was: “If citizenship is to be taken seriously, one needs to form an opinion on the circumstances and processes under which citizenship is established. These are by definition cultural processes.” (Steve Austen, Permanent Fellow of Felix Meritis Foundation, co-founder of A Soul for Europe and the European House for Culture) This kick-off clearly demonstrated that there is willingness and enthusiasm to welcome initiatives that help discuss these issues. The one hour scheduled was largely surpassed and many interventions from the attentive audience had to, unfortunately, not be taken up at this occasion. The conversation fruitfully continued after the official closing of the event as guests and audience gathered informally in the Flagey bar to continue the exchange of views started in the preceding 2 hours. The feedback from audience, guests and partners was very positive and incentivises the continuation of the series. Prior to the debate guests attended the presentation of Access! European Agenda for Youth and Music by the European Music Council (EMC). Claire Goddard, Chairperson of the Working Group Youth (WGY) and Simone Dudt, Secretary General of Policy and Communication for EMC, presented the initiative and developments achieved thus far. Claire Goddard stated: “Music organisations don’t just have a responsibility to involve us in their work and decision making processes: the unique experience, knowledge and vision that we offer makes this a necessity. Only through multigenerational cooperation can we all gain access to our future.” The presentation showed that this message is being taken to heart and with good results. (Reported by Eva Nunes, European House for Culture; find out more at