The STATE OF THE UNION conference, organised by the European University Institute (EUI), is an annual event for high-level reflection on the European Union. The conference brings together leading academics, policy-makers, civil society representatives, and business and opinion leaders to discuss the current situation and future prospects of the European Union.

Official hashtag of the conference: #SoU2013

  • 8.00 – 9.00 Registration – Cortile della Dogana
  • 9.00 – 11.15 Salone dei Cinquecento

9.00 – 9.15 - Welcome

Renzi MatteoMatteo Renzi is the mayor of Florence since 25 june 2009. After attending the well-known liceo classico Dante in Florence, Renzi graduated in 1999 with a degree in law with a thesis entitled 'Firenze 1951-1956: la prima esperienza di Giorgio La Pira Sindaco di Firenze' – not insignificantly a thesis about the first years of one of the city’s greatest mayors...

Enrico RossiEnrico Rossi  was elected President of the Region of Tuscany in 2010. He was elected member of the Regional Council in 2000 and he also served as member of the Regional Health Committee for ten years. During his tenure, he was a member of the AIFA, the Italian Medicines Agency, and the Coordinator of Councilors of the Health Committee at the State-Regions Conference...

Moavero Milanesi EnzoEnzo Moavero Milanesi is the Italian minister of European affairs. He was appointed by Mario Monti in 2011 and continues to hold the position as part of Enrico Letta’s government. From 2002 to 2005 Moavero was deputy secretary general at the European Commission, before serving as director general of the Commission’s Bureau of European Policy Advisors...

Cremona MariseMarise Cremona is currently the EUI President ad interim.  She joined the EUI in 2006 as Professor of European Law and was later appointed Head of the Department of Law.  She is also Co-director of the Academy of European Law, since 2006. Professor Cremona holds a BA honours degree from Somerville College, Oxford and an LL.M. in International Law from Darwin College, Cambridge...

9.15 – 9.30 - Keynote Lecture Mario Monti, member of the Italian Senate

Monti MarioMario Monti is the president of Bocconi University in Milan. He was prime minister of Italy from November 2011 to April 2013 and led the Civil Choice (SC) party in the national elections in February 2013. From 1999 to 2004 Monti was European commissioner for competition, following five years as European commissioner for internal market and services. He was previously professor of economics and rector at Bocconi University. Monti was the first chairman of the Bruegel, established in 2005, and currently the think tank’s honorary president.

9.30 – 11.00 - Morning Session Institutions and Democratic Governance

Recent instruments used to govern the euro and to induce fiscal discipline in member states have increased EU interference in national economic policy making; broadened the heterogeneity of supranational strategies to achieve these objectives; and led to greater differentiation among the sets of countries adhering to the different governance schemes. National electorates, ever more sceptical with how these instruments and policies are justified in their own countries, are likely to challenge further intergovernmental strategies and instruments such as the European Parliament. These voters are likely to view EU institutions, political parties and citizens’ initiatives as weak legitimising devices. Despite signs of a more efficient handling of the fiscal and monetary crises, we observe growing negative spill-over effects concerning legitimacy and support of member states by the EU and vice versa. The EU faces a midterm political predicament that requires innovative solutions to link new instruments of governance to citizens and popular support.

Introduction/Academic coordination:

Bartolini StefanoStefano Bartolini


Miguel MaduroMiguel Maduro

Marcegaglia EmmaEmma Marcegaglia

Miliband_DavidDavid Miliband

Joseph WeilerJoseph H. H. Weiler

Moderator Q&A Session:

Tony Barber at the State of the Union 2012Tony Barber


11.00 – 11.15 - Keynote Lecture Emma Bonino, Italian minister for foreign affairs

Bonino-Emma1Emma Bonino is the Italian foreign minister and a former member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. A member of the Radical Party, she served as vice president of the Italian Senate from 2008 to 2013. For the two years preceding this Bonino was Italian minister for international trade and European affairs. From 1995 to 1999 she held the post of European commissioner for fisheries, humanitarian aid and consumer policy, while she was appointed chief observer to the Ecuadorian elections in 2002 and Afghan elections in 2005 by the European Commission.

11.15 – 11.30 - Keynote Lecture Rosen Plevneliev, president of Bulgaria

Plevneliev RosenRosen Plevneliev has been president of Bulgaria since January 2012, before he was the minister of regional development and public works from July 2009 to September 2011. In that period he emerged as the most popular minister in the Borisov cabinet, and in the 4 September 2011 he was nominated as the candidate for president of the Republic of Bulgaria for the center-right party GERB.

  • 11.15 – 11.45 – Coffee break – Sala d’Arme
  • 12.00 – 13.30 Midday parallel sessions
  • Midday parallel sessions - Registered guests only

    The five midday parallel sessions – held under the Chatham House Rule – are coordinated and organised by EUI professors, with speakers, journalists, academics and EUI researchers leading discussion.

    Sessions A and B will focus on institutions and democratic governance, as discussed in the morning session. Sessions C, D and E will introduce the afternoon’s topics: migration and citizenship. Guests are invited to sign up and participate in one of the five parallel sessions.

    Palazzo Vecchio Conference

  • Palazzo VEcchio Conference

    Institutional solutions for problem solving

    • Economic governance of the euro and its relation to traditional forms of EU governance: how might they be incorporated?
    • Can we have more than a ‘one-speed’ Europe?
    • Is there a ‘political Europe’ outside the treaties?
    • What are the legal and political aspects of the exit options within the EU and euro area?

     EUI chair:

    • Bruno De Witte, professor of European law, European University Institute


    Media representative:

  • Palazzo VEcchio Conference

    Political initiatives for mobilising support

    • EU democratic practices and legitimacy problems in light of the crisis
    • The gap between the EU elite and citizens: citizens’ involvement in EU decision-making
    • Can the European parties ‘represent’?
    • What is the role of national parliaments?
    • The effects of the euro financial crisis: greater populism or higher levels of dialogue about Europe in national elections?

    EUI chair:

    • Alexander Trechsel, Swiss chair professor in Federalism and Democracy, European University Institute


    Media representative:


  • Migration and the future of Europe’s demography and economy

    • By 2050 Europe’s population will have decreased by 11 per cent, while the world population will have increased by 35 per cent. Is demography a threat to Europe’s future weight in world affairs?
    • Demographic aging and shrinking workforces put Europe’s welfare systems at risk. Should immigrants be seen as an additional burden or as an asset under these conditions?
    • Should EU member states apply the principle of European preference or, to promote innovation and competitiveness, promote the selection of highly skilled immigrants from third countries?
    • Would low- or mid-skilled immigration bring a suitable response to the massive outsourcing of labour to low-wage countries, and eventually foster employment in Europe?

    EUI chair:

    • Alessandra Venturini, deputy director of the Migration Policy Centre, RSCAS, European University Institute


    Media representative:

    • Norma Cohen, demography correspondent of Financial Times
  • Palazzo VEcchio Conference

    Migration, identity and integration

    • Does migration challenge a receiving society’s identity or do appropriate policies allow integration and social cohesion?
    • Is Islam being integrated in Europe?
    • Will Europe continue to progress towards granting citizen-like rights to migrants, including political rights?
    • Is increased xenophobia in Europe caused by rising numbers of immigrants or by rising economic anxiety?

    EUI chair:

    • Anna Triandafyllidou, programme director and coordinator of the Cultural Diversity Research Strand, Global Governance Programme, European University Institute


    • Ilze Brands Kehris, director of the office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
    • Ruud Koopmans, director of the Migration, Integration and Transnationalisation Unit, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)
    • Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies, Oriental Institute, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford
    • Olivier Roy, joint chair RSCAS, chair in Mediterranean studies, European University Institute
    • Anna Terrón Cusí, managing partner at InStrategies 

    Media partner representative:

  • Palazzo VEcchio Conference

    The future of EU citizenship and free movement

    • Has the EU citizenship project failed in its efforts to increase support for European integration and the mobility of EU citizens?
    • What are the benefits of EU citizenship for those who do not move? Is there a growing gap in rights and political attitudes between mobile and immobile Europeans?
    • Will the economic and political crises lead to border closures and greater resistance to free movement rights among member states?
    • Is there a need for common standards of access to EU citizenship?

    EUI chair:

    • Rainer Bauböck, professor of political and social theory, dean of graduate studies, European University Institute


    • Franco Frattini, former European commissioner for justice, freedom and security
    • Artur Novak-Far, Polish undersecretary of state for legal and treaty issues, ministry of foreign affairs
    • Hannes Swoboda, chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, European Parliament
    • Joseph H. H. Weiler, president elect of the European University Institute

    Media partner representative:

    • Nikolas Busse, Brussels correspondent of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • 13.45 – 15.00 Lunch – Sala d’Arme
  • 15.00 – 17.15 Salone dei Cinquecento

15.00 – 15.30 The State of the Union address - José Manuel Barroso, president of the EC

Barroso Jose ManuelJosé Manuel Durão Barroso is the current president of the European Commission. His political career began in 1980 when he joined the Portuguese Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was named president of the party in 1999 and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as vice president of the European People’s Party. In April 2002, he was elected prime minister of Portugal. He remained in office until July 2004 when he became president of the European Commission.

15.30 – 17.00 Afternoon session Migration and citizenship

Around 25 million third country nationals live in the EU, making it the world’s second-largest receiver of migrants. But European politicians fail to acknowledge this reality, resulting in mismanagement of immigration.

The economic crisis affects immigration and policymaking on migration in several ways:

  • Sectors with a high concentration of migrant workers are amongst the most severely hit, making unemployment soar among migrants faster than among the general population;
  • Unemployed local people now turn towards occupations they were neglecting in times of full employment and face competition with migrants;
  • Migrants’ countries of origin also suffer from the crisis. Consequently, pressures to emigrate from these countries remain high while return migration is often not an option.

The European agenda for economic migration defined before the crisis seems outdated. The EU must address new realities born from the economic crisis and anticipate the demographic recession that has just started, but will gain momentum in the coming decades and make immigration part of the response.

Beyond labour markets, the crisis challenges social cohesion. The integration of migrants’ children will be hampered by a lack of job opportunities for them and the poor economic integration of their parents.

Key challenges and questions remain:

  • What should be done to stimulate a true and open discussion about migration and mobility?
  • Why do some politicians and media organisations state that multiculturalism has failed?
  • How can Europe’s historical experiences of integrating minorities inform integration policies?
  • At the external border of Europe, major refugee crises in the Middle East and North Africa – Iraq in 2006-2009; Libya in 2011; Syria since 2011— have resulted in massive population movements, leading several member states to tighten control at entry rather than take measures to offer direct asylum. Why is it so difficult to build a European asylum policy?

Introduction/Academic coordination:

Fargues, PhilippePhilippe Fargues


Giuliano AmatoGiuliano Amato

Cécile KyengeCécile Kyenge

Cecilia MALMSTROMCecilia Malmström

Anna Terrón CusíAnna Terrón Cusí

Moderator Q&A session:

Frachon-AlainAlain Frachon

17.00 – 17.15 Keynote lecture Laura Boldrini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies

Boldrini LauraLaura Boldrini is the president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies since March 2013. She is the third italian woman to fill this role. Ms. Boldrini has been elected to the Chamber of Deputies at the Italian general election of 2013 as an independent candidate in Left Ecology Freedom party list. From 1998 to 2012 she was spokesperson of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In recent years she has specifically dealt with the influx of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean.