24 de setembro de 2017
Publico a seguir o discurso que proferi como "guest speaker" na cerimónia comemorativa dos vinte anos do início do Mestrado Europeu de Direitos Humanos que teve lugar hoje, domingo, em Veneza, incluindo algumas passagens que, por razões de tempo, omiti na apresentação oral.
Dear presidents and directors of E.ma/Eiuc bodies and programmes
Ladies and gentlemen
1. The creation of E.ma
It is a great honour to be here, in this solemn occasion convened to celebrate the 20th anniversary of E.ma, as a guest speaker, in my capacity of a senior member of EMA and of the first EIUC board.
Allow me to start by conveying my deep gratitude to all the other founding members of the EMa, as well as to all the many people who, at some stage and in whatever capacity, contributed to the development and improvement of the master’s programme and the other EIUC activities.
Among the 10 university professors of different member-states of the European Union who founded E.ma in 1997, there was one outstanding personality who made all the difference. I am referring to the late Professor Antonio Papisca from the University of Padua, who, together with Daniela Napoli, of the European Commission, was the driving force behind this project and our first director. The tribute that we pay to him today is more than fully deserved. The fortunate ones who knew him and worked with him will remind his vision and wisdom, his humanism and commitment to peace, his serene determination, his optimism, his personal kindness and gentle manners. His death represented a major loss not only to his beloved University but also to the common endeavor that he, more than any other else, personified.
This tribute should be extended to the University of Padua itself, which for several years provided the necessary institutional and administrative support to E.ma, including the enrolment of students, collection of fees, organization of exams, etc., before the setting up of EIUC, in 2002, and later on the creation of the “joint degree”.
Our institutional thanks should be extended to the municipality of Venice and the region of Veneto, which have provided to E.ma and subsequently to EIUC the necessary premises and financial and political support. Venice can be proud of hosting not only E.ma and EIUC but also the so-called Venice Commission, the independent expert body on democracy and rule of law of the Council of Europe (of which I was also a member). In a way, Venice concentrates the 3 pillars of the “golden triangle” of the European core constitutional values, namely, democracy, rule of law and human rights.
2. A common European HR space
Having been here since the beginning and having witnessed the extraordinary progress that was achieved, I take this opportunity to share with all of you a few brief impressions about what has been done, the challenges we face and the options regarding our future.
The first mission of E-ma was the creation of a common European HR space and the preparation of a corps of EU HR experts and professionals. E.ma was born out of the interest of the EU to pool academic resources on human rights on a European network of universities and a center for the post-graduate teaching and research on human rights, as a means to enhance the role of the Union in this field through learning and capacity-building. Ours was the vision to create a "common European academic HR space", as Antonio Papisca put it once.
Let us recall that at that time there was already a constitutional commitment of the EU to human rights, in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, and that the Copenhagen criteria for the accession of new member states to the EU, established in 1993, included the respect of democracy and human rights. The idea of an European Charter of Fundamental rights was being surfaced, after the European Court of Justice had rejected the initiative of the Commission for the accession of the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights. Ten years later, the Charter of Fundamental Rights adopted in 2000 was given legal force by the Lisbon Treaty, which also requires that the EU accedes to the European Convention of Human Rights.
With these two crucial steps, the EU became the first supranational political entity to be bound both by a bill of rights and by an international convention of human rights, including an international court of human rights, which originally were established for sovereign states.
The same development occurred with the democratic dimension of the Union. Whereas the Maastricht Treaty had created the European citizenship and the attached citizenship rights, the Lisbon Treaty added to the Union Treaty a chapter on democratic principles setting up the constitutional foundations of the representative democracy ant the participatory democracy in the Union.
With these developments, E.ma and EIUC became even more important in view of the enhancement of human rights and democratic awareness in the Union, as well as the providing the Union with the necessary HR high skilled experts and professionals.
This is the more so today, if we take into consideration the damage that the recent deep financial crisis brought to economic and social rights in several EU Member states, and the new frontiers of human rights pushed by technical, societal and cultural developments (gender and sexual related rights, privacy and the internet media, euthanasia, religious radicalism, etc.), as well as the current direct challenges to HR, democracy and rule of law in a number of member-states, particularly regarding the surge of terrorism, the rise of populist movements and of racism and xenophobia, and the humanitarian response to the flood of refugees crossing the Mediterranean.
Also, at the borders of the EU “illiberal democracies” or sheer autocracies defy the very notion of democratic freedoms.
Once again, we need in Europe a solid political and practical commitment to HR and democracy, strong enough to counter the rise of doubts and even skepticism regarding the value of HR enjoyment and the effectiveness of democratic values. Unfortunately, we can no longer take HR for granted as we were led to think two decades ago. As privileged members of the EU HR community with a mission to fulfill, we have the obligation to stand up and raise the banners of the European constitutional values now enshrined in art. 2 of the TUE.
3. Towards the globalization of HR
The second mission given do E.ma/Eiuc was to implement the global HR policy of the EU.
When E.ma was created, the world political scene was the most favourable to the expansion of HR since the II Word War. The so-called “third wave of democratisation” and the fall of the Berlin Wall broadened dramatically the geographical scope for constitutional democracy and human rights. In 1993 the Vienna Declaration on HR recovered the key notions of indivisibility and universality of HR, which had been lost during the Cold War.
In Europe the EU evolved, with the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, from a single market into a supranational political entity with a common foreign and secutiry policy (CFSP), including the promotion of human rights abroad.
For the first time, the conditions were set for the fulfilling of the dream put forward by President Roosevelt, in his famous “four freedoms” address back in 1941, during World War II, to acknowledge and to respect the fundamental freedoms of everybody, “everywhere in the world”.
This universalistic endeavor is even more needed today, because of the spread of economic globalization, which does not need only to be regulated by international law regarding its trade and investment and financial aspects. It needs to be accompanied by a globalization of human rights, including not only personal rights and public liberties, but also labour rights and economic, social and cultural rights. The new field of “international business and HR” should be one of the major concerns of the HR discourse today.
The world-wide respect of HR requires the establishment of a world awareness and culture of HR. The EU shares this view. That is why, together with the internal dimension of HR and democracy in the Union, a second pillar was created with the consideration of the promotion and defense of HR and democracy in the external action of the Union, be it the CFP, the trade policy or the development cooperation policy. This is now explicitly established in art. 21º TUE, after the Lisboan Treaty.
Again, in this fight for the universalization of HR, E.ma/Eiuc remains an indispensable mechanism for the promotion of the EU values and the implementation of the EU policies pertaining to HR and democracy in its different external action policies. With this development, a new task was conferred to E.ma and EIUC, which was to encourage and provide academic and financial assistance to the establishment of similar regional inter-university HR programs and centers, namely in the Balkans (Sarajevo), Africa (Pretoria), Latin America and the Caribbean (Buenos Aires), the Caucasus (Yerevan), the Arab World (Beirut) and Asia-Pacif (Bangkok). An innovative Global Campus on HR, bringing together all these structures, was established in Venice in 2012, by the initiative of EIUC, responding to a request from the EU, and under the direction of a council comprising all the regional HR programs and centers.
The new role of E.ma/Eiuc is to cater and to be the focal point of this network of regional HR centers and teaching programs. We have now a global role and responsibility.
4. The next challenges
Let me conclude.
Considering the diversity of initiatives organized by Eiuc, which go much beyond E.ma (like the "Venice HR academy" and the "Venice HR school") and the added value of the overseas regional HR programmes, looking at the many E.ma graduates who have joined us today to celebrate our 20th anniversary and the enthusiasm of the new "masterini" who now begin their academic year, I feel that 20 years ago we could not have expected so much and that the most ambitious dreams have been vindicated.
We began with 10 universities, now we are 41 in Ema, due to the subsequent enlargements of the Union and the admission of two universities from each member-state. Others would like to join. All along these years we have graduated more than 15 hundred students, most of whom are busy in HR related jobs, manly in international organizations, EU institutions and bodies, Government organizations and NGOs. While E.ma and Eiuc remain the backbone of the EU HR community, these HR graduates are the army on the ground and the key evidence that the investment of the EU and of our universities is being rewarded. They are our most valuable asset.
But we need now to look forward to the horizon of the next twenty years. The fight for HR and democracy is a never-ending story. New frontiers will be open, additional hurdles and challenges will arise.
In order to deliver, we need vision and political will and sufficient financial resources, but also an appropriate institutional setting. We need no revolution; rather we should elaborate upon and further what we already have.
It appears to me that Eiuc and E.ma have not exhausted their mandate. They have been - and in my view, should remain -, so to say, EU dedicated institutions. However, the new universal frontier of our mandate requires the setting up of a body that brings together the several existing networks of regional HR centers and programs, with their different needs and conditions, mainly supported and funded by the EU.
In order to tackle the legal difficulties and institutional resistances, we need imagination, determination and compromise. But this is the stuff E.ma and Eiuc are made of, since the very beginning. Once again, we will need them in order do what needs to be done. I am sure we will succeed once again!
Thank you for your attention.