The Director-General for External Action of the Extremadura government and Director of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation, Enrique Barrasa Sánchez, presented Dr. Susana del Río´s book “Europe: Project and Process. Citizens, Democracy, Participation” at the European Parliament and European Commission Offices in Madrid. The book has been published by the Foundation as part of its “Yuste Notebooks” collection.
During his speech, Mr. Barrasa highlighted the Foundation´s role in developing the European Commission´s “Europe for citizens” program, as one of the institutions which helped define the program´s aims and priorities, given its experience in the development of activities aimed at promoting greater European historical awareness, bringing Europe and its institutions closer to its citizens and promoting active European citizenship. Mr. Barrasa added that during the 2007-2013 period, the Foundation had been the only Spanish organization to receive funding for the implementation of this program.
The Foundation´s contribution to the promotion of European civic participation is also reflected in the numerous training activities carried out within the framework of the Yuste Campus, “a space for debate and reflection on topical European issues from a multidisciplinary perspective which to date has held 90 conferences and roundtables, bringing together 125 speakers and over 300 students”, according to Mr. Barrasa.
The Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union Íñigo Méndez de Vigo y Montojo also spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of the fact that the author had included the voice of civil society during the European integration process in her book, and noting that “more direct involvement of organized civil society in the European integration process and the initiatives to build the future Europe were long overdue.”
Likewise, the Director for the Media and European Parliament Spokesman Jaume Duch Guillot noted that the author “had been able to successfully combine academic rigor in the first part of the book with personal insight”, and added that the book is strikingly relevant because it analyzes the European integration process and what is currently taking place in Europe.
Finally, Susana del Río pointed out that the publication analyzes the European project and integration process from the constitutional phase to its current phase “because it talks about how to communicate Europe and how to revitalize the European project, restoring European citizens´ confidence in its politicians”. The author wishes to convey the relevance of the two vectors which are part of the European integration process and the EU´s personality: its value as both a project and a process. Some of the key issues addressed in the book include: European supranational democracy; the participation of civil society in the EU; the interaction between citizens and institutions; education as a key element for active citizenship; European solidarity, participation and communication; and the need to formulate what Dr. Susana del Río refers to as the new European policy, where shared responsibility is central to the achievement of a quality European democracy. The author emphasizes that representative democracy has to lead the way in restoring the credibility of European politics, because representative democracy is complemented by participatory democracy.
The former President of the European Parliament José María Gil-Robles y Gil-Delgado, the Dutch Ambassador to Spain C. van Rij, and the Members of the European Parliament Alejandro Cercas and Salvador Garriga attended the event, among other personalities.
The book is part of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation´s “Yuste Notebooks” collection (www.fundacionyuste.org), which along with the “Pliegos de Yuste” magazine, make up the Foundation´s publishing initiatives launched to address key topical European issues through analysis, research and thought. Edited by the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and by the Peter Lang publishing group, this publication is sponsored by the European University College Association (EUCA), the European Commission through its Europe for Citizens program, and by the European Access to Culture Platform.