“1st Thessaloniki Forum for Rights: Rights of Children”
“Protecting Children and Adolescents with an Emphasis on Children at Risk”
With the initiative of the Center for the European Legal Culture (Auth)
Friday and Saturday, November 1-2, 2019
at the Municipal Council Hall of the City Hall of Thessaloniki.
The “Center for the European Legal Culture” – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Rights, Central Macedonia Region, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, AUTH Law School and Thessaloniki Bar Association, co-organized the inaugural event of the Human Rights Forum in Greece and Europe.
Keynote speaker at the “1st Thessaloniki Forum for Rights: Children’s Rights” was Mr. Christos Yakoumopoulos, General Manager of the Directorate General for Human Rights and the Rule of Law Council of Europe, who spoke on: “Challenges and approaches to protection of the Rights of the child in the Council of Europe” followed by a number of distinguished speakers of Institutions and Organizations that guarantee the rights of children, the continuous follow-up on the status of such rights in Greece and abroad, the public information on underlying risks and, above all, the provision of counseling in the Greek State with the aim of formulating a sound central policy on human rights issues.
The four sessions focused on children’s rights and the problems they face, and in particular children at risk (“Prosecutors”), falling into three categories: (a) those who are abused; (b) those who commit crimes; and (c) unaccompanied refugees.
Specific conference topics:
-Institutional protection of children
-Protection structures and gaps
-Children with additional vulnerability
-Refugee and Migration Crises and children’s rights
A discussion followed the presentations, while after the end of the second session, of Friday the 1st of November at 18:30, there was a roundtable on “Invitations and Prospects for the better protection of the rights of children and adolescents”.
Center for the European Legal Culture AUTH
The establishment of the Center by decision of the Senate is based on the conviction that the foundation of EU law is the common European legal culture, and the aim is to involve the AUTH in the reform of national legal landscapes integrating them into a new, collective European orbit. It therefore implements, inter alia, information and awareness-raising actions for the wider academic community, as well as the public opinion.
“Thessaloniki Forum for Human Rights” is also part of this framework, and will be organized annually in collaboration with its Local Bodies and Regional Government aiming to combine theory and action for the protection of fundamental rights in Greece and Europe. The speakers are expected to be distinguished scientists, researchers from the Council of Europe’s Directorate for Human Rights, the Department for the Equality and Citizenship Rights of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) of Vienna, the UN Commission for the Implementation of the Treaty of the United Nations Geneva Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc. Academics and natural persons as well as representatives of the Institutions or organizations involved in the protection of rights related to specific field will be invited.
After all, acknowledging the best interest of children, as a matter of utmost importance and along with the obligation of each Member State to ensure the protection and care of childhood, reflects the letter and the spirit of the many provisions of the Constitution as well as European and international texts to protect its human rights. The cooperation of the Local Bodies Regional Administration with the “Center for the European Legal Culture”, is considered beneficial as it aims at implementing actions related to research, education and information, which will promote the European legal culture and, in practice, European integration itself.
“30 Years of Jean Monnet Programs at AUTH”
Event under the aegis of the Center
for European Legal Culture , AUTH
The event marking the thirty years since the introduction of the Jean Monnet programs at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, under the aegis of the Center for European Legal Culture, highlighted the role of Jean Monnet programs in promoting the values of the Union as a coherent element.
At the opening of the event the Dean of the Law School, Mrs. Elizabeth Symeonidou-Kastanidou, expressed the wish for actions under the Jean Monnet Programs to be takenevery year. In his address, the Rector of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Mr. Nikos Papaioannou emphasized the importance of Jean Monnet actions in research, teaching and training, in dialogue at a scientific and social level, as well as in continuous renewal. He underlined the importance of highlighting common values and a common perspective within the Union against the degradation trends and the Euroscepticism that contravene it. The event was also welcomed through a video message by Mrs Themis Christofidou, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission.
CELC ‘s President, Professor, Petros Stagos, spoke about Jean Monnet’s personality as well as the Programs which originally aimed at linking educational institutions with the Union’s financial goals and how they developed into their current status.
The next speaker, Mr. Vassilios Skouris, former President of the EU Court of Justice and Professor Emeritus of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in his speech on “Democracy and the Rule of Law as Fundamental Values of the European Union” underlined the importance of the EU as a pioneer in the protection of human rights and the safeguarding of democracy worldwide. Addressing the question of whether a European legal culture does exist, he referred to the human rights protection system established by the European Convention on Human Rights within the Council of Europe, which offers the possibility of seeking redress individually. Furthermore, the European Union, which relies on law and legislation, the supremacy and direct application of the Union law, has gone beyond any economic dimension and is based on establishing common values that form its legal culture. He also considered as a “historic moment by chance” the non-inclusion of common culture in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union which lists the values of the Union. It should be noted that the Union promotes its values despite the decline of the rule of law in recent years, although there is no alternative, believing that the rule of law must be tackled and protected against authoritarianism.
Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou, former Minister and Commissioner of the EU, President of the Network for Reform in Greece and Europe, in her speech entitled “4th Industrial Revolution and the Education System” emphasized the role of technology in today’s times, the change that this has brought, in the terms of work, ownership and investing in the digital age, using as an example the Airbnb platform, which employs thousands of people albeit without rights, such as insurance. She also emphasized that automation will increase jobs and efficiency in those countries that have been prepared for the change. She pointed out that we must accept the dilemmas and overcome them, referring to the poor performance of Greece in both the digital economy, services and businesses as well as digital education and employee skills, recalling that Lifelong Learning in the Digital Age should belong to the new generation of Human Rights.
The event concluded with a speech by Ms. Katerina Savvidou, Assistant Professor of the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, on “Harmonizing the Tax Systems of EU Member States: Obstacles and Challenges”, which referred to the limits of European Union action in the field of taxation and the efforts to coordinate action against tax evasion. The importance of developments in this area in the Union’s fiscal governance and in the role of technology was also highlighted. Current trade and modern trade within the Union, as well as outside it, are influenced by technology, giving rise to challenges that, if not addressed immediately, will result in billions in budget losses for both the Union and national governments.
Thessaloniki Human Rights Forum on the “Protection of Children and Adolescents”
The Center for the European Legal Culture and the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will hold the first meeting of the “Thessaloniki Human Rights Forum” on the “Protection of Children and Adolescents”, to take place in November 2019.
“What do we vote for? The challenge of the European Elections”
The Center for the European Legal Culture and the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki organized a conference entitled: “What do we vote for? The challenge of the European Parliament Elections”, on the occasion of the Europe Day, on Thursday 9 May 2019.
“Europe from Inside”
The Center for the European Legal Culture and the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki held a scientific conference on “Europe from Inside”, on Friday, 19 April 2019, with keynote speaker Mr. Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesperson on the European Commission.