| Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy

Information Campaign for the European Constitution

Greece, 1 January – 30 June 2005

From January and until June 2005, ELIAMEP is organizing conferences on the European Constitution in large cities across Greece. The aim is to inform citizens and to stimulate the public debate about the European Constitution, the debate on the future of Europe and the major European issues. These conferences fall within the Hellenic Foreign Ministry’s Campaign “European Constitution and the Future of Europe”. In this project, ELIAMEP is grateful for the co-operation of the Hellenic Centre for European Studies (EKEM), and the support of the Representation of the European Commission and the office of the European Parliament in Greece.

Through its participation in this project, ELIAMEP is actively promoting public discussion and debate on European issues, and it particularly targets the less informed groups of the Greek population. Such a project was thought necessary given the apathy that characterizes large parts of the Greek (and European) population when it comes to European matters. Until today, public debates in Greece about the future of Europe and the European Constitution have been limited and these have tended to cater to only a few sections of the population, particularly in the Attica region. In this respect, the core of the debate on European issues continued to retain a rather elitist approach, which seems to have characterized the process of European integration from its origins. Indicative of the limited information that citizens receive on European issues is the fact that, while 69% of the Greeks support the European Constitution, 49% of them have not heard of it, according to the recent Eurobarometer.

In Greece, the European Constitution has been ratified by the Parliament and not through a referendum. Nonetheless, it is the firm belief of all the participating institutions that this Information Campaign is important, or rather necessary, and must be held prior to the parliamentary discussion.

The first public debate on “The European Constitution and the Future of Europe” was held on the 12th of January 2005 in Athens. Since then, conferences have already been organized in Patra, Thessaloniki, Lamia, Komotini, Ioannina, Tripoli, Corfu, Larisa, Kozani, Heraklio, Mytilini and Syros. Academics, experts on European issues, representatives of the European institutions and civil society representatives have addressed local audiences and have participated in very vivid debates on the need for this Constitution, on the ratification challenges, and on the future direction of the enlarged EU.

Each conference is organized with the support and co-operation of local institutions, authorities and associations (universities, polytechnics, professional associations, etc.), in order to ensure the representation and participation of the local civil society. Our final stop is Rhodes. For dates and participation in these future events please contact our Activities Department.

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