The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation and the Jean Monnet Module on European Integration of the University of Extremadura have organised the course “Achievements and Limitations of 60 Years of European Integration”, inaugurated today at the Royal Monastery of Yuste, which is the Foundation’s head office. This course closes the Yuste Campus programme’s summer courses.

The Director of the course, Alfonso Pinilla -PhD in Contemporary History at the University of Extremadura and Professor of the Jean Monnet Module- reflected on the European Union’s current situation during the opening session, as he pointed out that that it presently “faces the most serious crisis of its history”, and even though he asserted that in every crisis there has always been a subsequent expansion and an intensification in the process of integration, “the truth is that now, something that we thought was secure has been broken: irreversibility, which is why our crisis is so serious and is worth reflecting on”.

Pinilla explained that the course is organised around three key subjects: the crisis and the future of the European Union; the answers given by Europe to the crossroad it faces, and the perception that the mass media have of the problems faced by the EU. These themes will be tackled from a multidisciplinary perspective counting with historians, academicians, economists, jurists, journalists and political analysts, among other disciplines.

The Co-Director of the Jean Monnet Module on European Integration, Enrique Moradiellos, explained that the course attempts to be a forum for reflection and debate that may help to present “the difficult challenges that the process of European integration has in the horizon” to the attendees. According to Moradiellos, “there isn’t a better space than Yuste –an emblematic place of Europeanism in Extremadura and Spain- to reflect on the future of Europe”.

The Director of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, Juan Carlos Moreno Piñero, recalled that Europe is a recurring subject in the Yuste Campus programme, tackled from different perspectives “because it is situated in a constant crossroad” while, in his opinion, Europe “is not an exhausted subject, but a solution to the barbarism of the past and we see a solution in the process of European construction”. According to Moreno Piñero, Europe receives many threats which is why “we should be strong enough to counteract them, as Robert Schumman once requested”.

Lastly, the Rector of the University of Extremadura, Segundo Píriz Durán, directed some words towards the Nicaraguan university students due to the difficult times they are going through, demanding sensitivity and respect for different opinions among all people. Píriz recalled that a small part of the European population enjoys a high level of welfare state and its maintenance will depend on everyone’s work to achieve this; in not doing so he warned participants that “we would go back to city-states; to many centuries back in time and to avoid this we have to analyse, debate on and be committed to solving our problems”.

The Rector of the university recalled that Europe recommended the investment of 3% of the GDP in innovation and transfers in order to maintain the current state of welfare, but that Spain is not complying with this recommendation as it invests slightly more than 1%. In his opinion, “it is vital that we invest in research so that this may later be transformed into patents, knowledge, businesses, transfers; ultimately, in the creation of jobs with added-value so that these may be available for current university students and they may implement all the learned theory in the classroom”. Even though Spain does not invest the necessary budget, he affirmed that “we produce 3% of the world scientific knowledge, but we have less than 1% of patents at world level”.

On the other hand, the Rector of the Extremaduran University claimed that it is necessary to transfer the results of the research to society because “if we don’t create technological and competitive businesses, students won’t have a decent job and we would be retreating in the welfare standard that has taken us so much effort to achieve”. As a consequence, he pointed out that “the country that invests most, modernises itself, takes risks and makes progress will end up leading the world economy as it will end up having the resources and consequently see an increase in its living standard”. Píriz took China as an example as it managed to lift 600 million people out of poverty in the last twenty years and “even though I don’t believe in the Chinese regime, as Europe relocates its businesses in China so that they be the ones manufacturing, they will also become independent from American and European technology, and we will lose quality and part of our current state”.

The course brings together 45 students from the University of Extremadura, the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Granada, the UDIMA, the University of Salamanca, the University of Rome Unitelma Sapienza (Italy), the University of Valencia, the Rey Juan Carlos University, the University of Burgos, the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville), the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and the National University of Distance Education (UNED), and from different countries, such as Spain, Italy, Romania and Portugal.


The objective of this training programme is to carry out specialised courses and encounters aimed at encouraging the debate and reflection of university students, researchers and professionals on the process of European construction and integration, as well as on European current affairs and other subjects regarding European and Ibero-American history and remembrance, or the foundation’s foundational objectives. All this from a multidisciplinary perspective and in a unique context as is the Royal Monastery of Yuste, which enables the contact and exchange of knowledge among students and speakers, who will share reflections with experts on the subject matter and first-rate personalities form the academic, political or social area, thus making it a space for reflection, thought, culture and science.

The training programme offers 230 grants in order to make itself known and involve as many people as possible and to enable the participation and presence of university students, researchers, experts and professionals interested in each subject area.