In 2021, the 11th European Summer Course, organised by the Europa-Institut in cooperation with the Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen, took place online from June 20-26.
40 dedicated and open-minded international students and young professionals from around the world were invited to participate in an academically challenging as well as wide-ranging program. Together with renowned international experts in European law, politics and economics, they worked in simulations, workshops and lectures on current goals and political priorities of the European Union with focus on the EU’s single market and the world trade system in times of crisis as well as of Human Rights protection and their challenges in light of freedom of expression vs. public interest and its impact on health protection in the context of data protection.
Despite the fact that the course took place online, it was important to the organizers to maintain the ESC atmosphere of the past years and to support the exchange as well as the establishment of new networks between the participants. For example, the traditional online EU pub quiz was a great success, and a second quiz organized on the initiative of the participants on Friday night was a great substitute for an evening program on site and resulted in a lively exchange and getting to know each other.
The daily greeting "Good morning and good evening!" reflects the internationality of our participants, who joined from all possible time zones. „#EUChallengeAccepted: Tackle the Challenges for the European Union!“ started on Sunday with an introductory session on "Social Distancing Together - Intercultural Communication for Global Cooperation" conducted by Alexander Metternich and Nicola Speer (EAO). Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Droit (Sciences Po Strasbourg, FR) gave a presentation on "European Integration from Schumann via Brexit to Corona" and the day ended with a lecture by Manuela Ripa (Member of the European Parliament) on "Impact of Covid-19 on the future of the EU".
On Monday, the focus was on "European Integration": Tilmann Lahann gave a lecture on "Goals and political priorities of the EU", followed by an interactive discussion with Sebastian Zeitzmann on "Making decisions in the EU". The program continued on Tuesday with the "EU Single Market", which began with a lecture on "The EU Internal Market and Fundamental Freedoms in Times of the Global Pandemic" by Prof. Dr. Zlatan Meskic (University of Zenica, BA) and was rounded off with a case study. Afterwards, the participants were able to put their acquired knowledge to the test in a relaxed atmosphere during the EU pub quiz. On Wednesday, the focus was on "Foreign policy". Prof. Dr. Yossi Mekelberg (Chatham House, UK) taught on the topic of "EU Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis" before an interactive discussion on "Responses to a global crisis" took place. Thursday started with the thematic block "Human Rights". Prof. Dr. Giegerich (Europa-Institut, Saarland University, DE) gave a lecture on "Human Rights Protection in Times of Crisis". This was followed by a case study led by the chair of Prof. Giegerich in smaller groups. The next topic on Friday, "EU Trade Policy", was introduced by Asst. Prof. Dr. Anne Thies (University of Reading, UK) with the topic "EU Trade Policy and the Global Trade System in the Pandemic". This was followed by a simulation led by Mareike Fröhlich (Europa-Institut, Saarland University, DE) on "Fighting the Pandemic - Vaccines for all". The last day was dedicated to "Digitalization". Asst. Prof. Dr. Oskar Gstrein and Taís Blauth (University of Groningen, NL) shared their expertise on "Data-Driven Measures against COVID-19: Privacy vs. Autonomy vs. Health?" and stimulated a lively discussion on "The new normal: Are digital COVID certificates a good idea?”.
The wide range of professional backgrounds from different disciplines of the participants allowed for reflection and discussion of the selected topics around the challenges of the European Union from many different perspectives.
It was a great experience to meet so many enthusiastic and inspiring participants and lecturers from all over the world who came together virtually for an intense week of discussions, simulations and lectures to experience the atmosphere of this international seminar. When saying goodbye, it felt as if one had just spent an intensive week with friends.
The ESC team would like to thank everyone for their great spirit, their keen interest in the topics offered and engaging debates that brought us together as a group despite the distance. All the best to the participants and hoping to hear from you again sometime!