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19 September 2023

Highlights from the 2023 Board of Trustees


Foto: Highlights from the 2023 Board of Trustees.


For two days on 15-16 September, the Academy of European Law ERA’s Board of Trustees convened for their annual meeting at our headquarters in Trier.

The hybrid meeting began in plenary with reports on ERA’s development and a discussion about current strategic challenges.

The 60 trustees in attendance then divided into specialised working groups led by ERA staff members. These groups discussed priority issues, such as ERA's strategy for legal training in the Western Balkans and initiatives geared towards the younger generation of legal practitioners. Topics such as hybrid conferencing and improving environmental sustainability were also explored.

“ERA has all the potential of becoming a reference point for young lawyers in advancing their knowledge in European law”, said Rimvydas Norkus, Judge at the General Court of the European Union and a member of the Board of Trustees. “The activities aimed at the younger generation hitherto have had an excellent outcome, but the possibilities of cooperation with the universities, for instance by using the Erasmus program, could be explored.”

Simone Cuomo, Secretary General of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and also a Trustee, said: “The CCBE highly values the long-standing cooperation with ERA in organising the annual Young Lawyers Contest which brings together young and newly qualified lawyers, thus spotlighting the importance of European law for their future legal practice. Reaching out to those colleagues at the start of their professional career is not only important for nurturing the personal growth and development of individual professionals, but it also plays a vital role in strengthening and promoting the continuity of the legal profession throughout Europe. The CCBE is therefore committed to continue assisting ERA in this important endeavour.”

One of the main topics at the meeting was ERA’s strategy in the Western Balkans, for which the trustees were joined by invited guests representing the different legal professions.

“ERA’s efforts to develop training programmes in the Western Balkans and encourage these countries to join the ERA Foundation are much needed for the advancement of the legal profession and progress of the whole region”, said Iris Goldner Lang, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at the University of Zagreb and Vice-Chair of the ERA Board of Trustees. “I encourage ERA’s further efforts in this direction, concentrating both on seminars focused on different areas of EU law, as well as on trainings on legal interpretation and reasoning”.

Natasha Gaber, Director of the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors of the Republic of North Macedonia, said: “While hoping for our country to be formally included in the EU Justice program, I prioritise setting a well-structured and comprehensive national training plan to meet the educational needs of our judiciary in the light of the EU accession process. Practical skills and knowledge in applying EU law domestically should be obtained prior to our country becoming an EU member, as it is essential to making the judiciary system work consistently on all legal matters that may arise.”

Vladimir Beljanski, President of the Bar Association of Vojvodina, Serbia, commented: “The expectations of ERA's engagement in the Western Balkans are to enhance the capacity of the legal profession, both in terms of knowledge and in relation to improving the quality of the entire judiciary. The legal profession, prosecution and judges are interconnected, and the quality of their work is interdependent. To increase public trust in the judiciary, it is necessary to focus on education and aligning local systems with European standards.”

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