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24 October 2019

European Law Protecting our Common Values: 30th anniversary of the Jean Monnet Programme

Please click here for the quotes from the speakers and the photos of the event.


Foto: European Law Protecting our Common Values: 30th anniversary of the Jean Monnet Programme.


On the 16th October we commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Jean Monnet programme with a conference on “European Law Protecting our Common Values”.

After a thorough analysis of the concept of “European values”, successive panels took a closer look at how European law defends these values against both external and internal threats, and addressed the potential conflict between the values protected by EU law on the one hand and national constitutional law on the other.

The event was formally opened by Commissioner Věra Jourová, Director General Themis Christophidou and the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Katarina Barley.

Quotes from speakers are summarised below:

“The rule of law is the precondition on which all our other values are based, including democracy and fundamental rights. I am convinced that a strong stance on fundamental rights will put us in a good position as a global standard-setter on a human-centric approach to new technologies
Věra Jourová, Member of the European Commission, Brussels

Laws work not only because they are externally enforced but because we voluntarily embrace them, and we cannot embrace something we do not understand. For this reason, I would like to thank the Academy of European Law.”
Themis Christophidou, Director General, DG Education and Culture, European Commission, Brussels

"The EU is founded on democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights. The European toolbox to protect these values against internal threats is not sufficient and has to be improved. Therefore it will be our priority as European Parliament to work closely with Commission and Member States to adopt a comprehensive rule of law mechanism and a linkage between receiving EU funds and upholding the rule of law."
Katarina Barley, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

"Judicial independence is not a type of employment privilege or a right of judges. It is a duty for judges. It is there to protect the rights of citizens, especially when they find themselves in legal dispute with state actors."
Justice Aileen Donnelly, Court of Appeal, Dublin

“The conviction is growing that we cannot continue on the principle that the internet is a public space in which there is no role for democratic laws. We are seeing a resurgence of the rule of law in the light of new technologies. Technology is not value-free. Those who develop new technologies ingrain into them their own values and develop them for their own purposes.”
Paul Nemitz, Principal Adviser, European Commission, Brussels.

  • To view the programme please click here.
  • A recording of the live stream is available here.

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