30 Aug–1 Sep 2018
In the Europe Forum, the role of Finland in Europe and the European Union is reflected from the perspective of a long time frame. As a specific objective, the event aims to increase civil dialogue about the present situation and future of the European Union.
The themes of the Europe Forum include city and economy, policymakers and citizens, and climate and nature. The speakers and guests include Vice President of the European Commission, Commissioner Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, and Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho. Also, represented are the Finnish Members of the European Parliament and the Parliament’s Grand Committee.
– In many ways, the Finnish Europe process began in Turku at the turn of the 80’s and 90’s, through a project called Eurooppa-akatemia (Europe Academy in English) which had a nationally significant role as the launcher of Europe dialogue. Partly because of this backround, it is natural and appealing to Turku to act as the host of a Europe-themed forum. Turku has also always been Finland’s gate to Europe and exchange of thoughts, says Mayor of Turku Minna Arve.
– The strength of Turku, and partly a secret behind the current strong economic growth in the South-West of Finland, is close cooperation between universities, companies, and other local and regional actors. With a similar recipe of cooperation, we are now creating the Europe Forum together, making it a yearly launcher of the political season and an arena for dialogue concerning Europe-related matters. I want to thank all participants enabling the event for their commitment. We believe that there is a need for this kind of an open, citizens-inclusive, and plural national forum for dialogue in terms of planning the futures of Finland and the union, Mayor Arve continues.
Realisation through local, regional and national cooperation
The Europe Forum is organised by the Parliament, Prime Minister’s Office, Representation of Finland to the European Commission, City of Turku, University of Turku, Turku University Foundation, Åbo Akademi University, Åbo Akademi University Foundation, Regional Council of Southwest Finland, Turku Science Park, Turku Chamber of Commerce, European Parliament Information Office Finland, Bank of Finland, Ministry of the Interior, Europe Information, Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK), The Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava), Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), and Schuman Society.
– Supporting and researching European parliamentarism is important in order for us to understand the different interpretations of parliamentarism and their effects on democracy and the development of democratic countries. Especially now when we can see people from all over Europe striving to question the basic values of democracy, and to even abandon them. The Europe Forum is a way to cultivate the Finnish dialogue and to find influences for it from elswhere in Europe, summarizes Rector of the University of Turku Kalervo Väänänen.
– This kind of a broadminded seminar focused on European matters at the end of the summer is a very interesting and timely initiative. Åbo Akademi University is happy to participate with their areas of expertise concerning European matters as the seminar programme is developed, says Rector of Åbo Akademi University Mikko Hupa.
The futures of Finland and Europe on the table
In the Europe Forum in Turku, people from different areas of life get to meet each other: decision-making politicians, non-governmental organisations, economic life, labour market organisations, specialists, and citizens.
Seminars, panel discussions, question times, and civil dialogue will provide a base for constructive dialogue about Europe and the meaning and development of the European Union. The programme of the Europe Forum includes e.g.:
- Open civil dialogue led by Vice President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen
- Europe-themed economy seminar by the Bank of Finland
- Seminar by Turku Science Park, Turku business life, and cooperators
- Seminar on security by the Ministry of the Interior
- Europe and EU -themed lectures in the Main Library Studio
- The Europe Marketplace by the Schuman Society where NGOs introduce themselves and host their own events on the marketplace stage.
- Exhibition by the Ministry of the Interior
- How Are You, Europe? – An introduction to the themes of the Forum by the Centre for Parliamentary Studies
- Europe and Us -discussion in cooperation with the Representation of Finland to the European Commission, European Parliament Information Office Finland, and the Finnish Members of the European Parliament.
- Public consultation of the Grand Committee of the Parliament and Prime Minister
- Question Time of the Minister for European Affairs – Minister Sampo Terho replies to questions from the citizens.
- When Researched Information and Politics Meet – Discussions by researchers and MEPs about the themes of the Forum
- Joint seminar of labour market organisations and business life. SAK, STTK, AKAVA, and EK.
- Let’s Talk About EU -civil dialogue – Discussion event organised by Europe Information
- Europe and EU -themed lectures in the Turku Main Library Studio