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18 November 2020

ERA Governing Board 2020: Immediate Challenges, Strategic Objectives

The Governing Board of the ERA held its annual meeting on 16 November 2020 to approve both immediate measures relating to the Covid-19 crisis as well as long-term objectives in its new development strategy.

The meeting, chaired by the President of the Governing Board Jacques Santer, took place at ERA’s headquarters in Trier with most participants joining by videoconference.

Coping with the Covid-19 Crisis

Travel restrictions and public-health measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic have obliged ERA to shift its entire training and conference programme online. After an initial period following the introduction of lockdowns, in which no events could be organised in April and early May, ERA has managed to deliver almost its entire open programme – from summer courses to annual conferences – in an online format. The response from practitioners has been very positive.

The Governing Board heard reports on the impact of the crisis on ERA’s programmes, participants and staff, and congratulated all involved for rising to the challenges posed by the pandemic. It took note of the results of a survey on online training conducted by ERA together with over 50 partners from the legal professions at national level. The Board formally approved the measures taken and adopted a budget for 2021 reflecting the new reality in which ERA must deliver its activities.

Planning for a More Sustainable Future

The Governing Board also adopted ERA’s Development Strategy 2021-27, which describes the major issues facing ERA in the coming seven years and sets a number of key objectives to be attained during this period. The timeframe coincides with the European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework and provides a frame of reference for ERA to respond to upcoming challenges on a stable financial footing.

The Covid-19 crisis has fast-forwarded a number of strategic challenges for which ERA was already preparing in this strategic document – most notably the impact of the digital revolution and changing attitudes to international travel due to climate change. The key implementing measures of the Development Strategy will become visible through annual action plans from 2021 onwards.

New Director and Programme Director

Monday’s meeting was the last in office for the current Director of ERA, Wolfgang Heusel who has been in charge since January 2000. President Santer praised the outgoing Director’s achievements, in particular the accession of 26 EU Member States to the ERA Foundation between 2000 and 2018 which made ERA a genuine European institution. Heusel thanked President Santer and the Board members for more than twenty years of successful cooperation and emphasised the confidence vested in ERA’s future leadership.

Following a decision at last year’s Governing Board meeting, he will be succeeded as Director on 1 January 2021 by Jean-Philippe Rageade. Rageade thanked the Board members again for their trust. “I regret that the current health crisis does not allow ERA yet to thank Wolfgang Heusel, its iconic and historical Director for 20 years, with the due honour but I am delighted that he has accepted to serve as an honorary trustee of ERA from next year on”, he said. 

During the meeting Rageade underlined the solidarity and resilience which the entire ERA team has shown in the course of the year which has seen the Academy remaining present in the training landscape, carrying out its mission further, innovating and diversifying its training offer. “With humility yet confidence, together with the newly composed Management Board, I look forward to starting the implementation of the Development Strategy adopted by the Board”, he said.

The Governing Board approved the appointment of Julia Laffranque to the Management Board as the new Director of Programmes. Ms Laffranque is currently a judge of the Supreme Court of Estonia and formerly a judge of the European Court of Human Rights and will take office in Trier on 1 February 2021.

For more information please contact 
Janine Notter, PR & Social Media Officer
Tel (D) + 49(0)651 9 37 37 -807; jnotter@era.int ; www.era.int

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