IR Department Hosts First Jean Monnet Seminar

Stefano Fantaroni, First Counselor at the European Union Delegation to Turkey, visited the Department of International Relations on 13th December and delivered a speech entitled “EU-Turkey Relations Today”. This was the first of a series of “Jean Monnet Seminars” planned by the Jean Monnet Chair of the IR Department Assist. Prof. Dimitris Tsarouhas. The purpose of the Jean Monnet Project that Dr. Tsarouhas has won is to bring together representatives of academia, civil society and the world of diplomacy to facilitate the debate on Europe and EU-Turkey Relations.
In his speech, Mr. Fantaroni asserted that the EU is primarily a Community of Values and should be seen as such. He also underlined that it is a work in progress, sometimes subject to setbacks, but ultimately emerging more powerful out of crises such as the one it is currently experiencing. With regard to EU-Turkey relations, Mr. Fantaroni stressed that turbulence in the bilateral relationship can be overcome and that relations are not only economic but also political, cultural and social. The Union and Turkey, he stressed, are strategic partners. The most important element on the way to accession is not accession itself, he said. It is rather the actual path followed leading to eventual accession: fraught with difficulties but ultimately rewarding as the candidate country transforms itself into a polity that fully respects Europe’s political and economic accession criteria.
The speech was followed with great interest by IR students taking Dr. Tsarouhas’s course on the European Union. A record number of 19 students posed all sorts of questions, sometimes challenging the speaker and showcasing the depth of knowledge they have accumulated on EU issues. Mr. Fantaroni made a point of answering every single one of them, despite time pressure. The Q+A session was the highlight of the seminar and made both sides happy to have taken part in this Jean Monnet Seminar Series event.

Merve KOCA ( IR/ 4)