On June 16, 2021, IEE and College of Europe students had the pleasure to meet and debate about the future of Europe. The Rectors from both institutions, Annemie Schaus (Université libre de Bruxelles) and Federica Mogherini (College of Europe), opened the discussions along with IEE President, Professors Ramona Coman and College of Europe Director of the Department of European Political and Governance Studies, Olivier Costa.

The Students’ Association of the Institute for European Studies (SAIES) and their College of Europe counterparts started working on this project in December 2020. The rich exchange has left both students and authorities convinced that such activities must become a tradition between the two institutions.

The day began with a keynote speech on the future of Europe delivered by Federica Mogherini, former High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy 2014-2019 and Rector of the College of Europe. ULB Rector, Annemie Schaus, was in charge of the formal introduction.

‘’ I am extremely happy to do this together, because I think that the College of Europe has an interest in working as much as possible with Belgian universities, but also and especially with the ULB because many of our students will probably work and live or go through Brussels often, because many of them are likely to start careers in European or national institutions. It is important to figure out how to establish early links between the European institutional bubble and the city of Brussels, and I think universities like the ULB and the College have a role to play in that work. For us this is an opportunity, a common work opportunity, to also perhaps adopt in the future avenues of work that can link our students a little more structurally. And also our academic institutions.’’ Rector Federica Morgherini

IEE President, Professor Ramona Coman,  welcomed the College of Europe in her speech, emphasizing the special relationship between the two institutions.

‘’Links between our two institutions have always existed. Our students often choose the IEE to then continue their studies at the College but the movement is not only a one-way street:  College graduates also choose the ULB, and more particularly the CEVIPOL and the IEE, to carry out doctoral theses and to continue thier careers as assistants and teachers. And so, even though our collaboration is not new, I hope to see it develop in the future, institutionalized to some extent as well.” Prof. Ramona Coman

After the formal opening, students from both the College of Europe and the IEE enjoyed a lunch in the sunfilled IEE gardens.


The afternoon was devoted to the debates on the future of Europe. Students gathered in 5 work groups to exchange their views on the following themes :

  • The institutional framework of the EU;
  • Enlargement and neighbourhood policy;
  • Policies and responses to Europe’s challenges;
  • Europe in the world : Towards Strategic Autonomy;
  • Economic governance of the EU.

To conclude, students met in a plenary session in which the moderators of the work groups presented the main takeaways of their daylong exchanges.

Read the conclusions

In the evening, a reception with students and professors was organized, followed by a student party in the IEE garden, organized by SAIES, with the support of the IEE.

The student experience

Alessandro Zappi

I am a student in the first year of the Master in European Studies at the IEE. I was born in Italy in a town near Bologna where I spent my early years. I started my academic career at the University Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna in International relations and Diplomatic Affairs. I spent the second year of my undergraduate programme at Sciences Po Lille. There, I discovered my passion for European studies and I learned French. After my undergraduate degree, I decided to enter the IEE since it presented the perfect opportunities to meet my professional and academic aspirations.

Concerning the European policy field, I have different areas of interest. I am keen on the energy, environmental, economic policy as well as the external action of the European Union. I am honored to be part of the SAIES team because it allowed me to organize events like the “Debate on the Future of Europe”.

“Organizing the “Debate on the Future of Europe” was both an honor and a priviledge. The event was the achievement of a long project that started in December 2020. I extremely enjoyed working closely with the coordinators from the college of Europe, that I thank again for their involvement. The event was a great possibility for the students from both the IEE and the College of Europe not only to meet each other but also to exchange views and opinions. Particularly, after the pandemic, the fact of sharing moments between students and professors was absolutely a plus. I hope that this event was just the beginning of a deeper cooperation between the IEE and the College of Europe!”   Alessandro Zappi

Juuso Järviniemi

Originally from Finland, Juuso Järviniemi studied European Political and Governance Studies in the Mario Soares promotion. After his graduation, he will start as a Blue Book trainee in the cabinet of the Director-General of DG CONNECT at the European Commission. Besides digital policies, Juuso is interested in civic participation in European-level political processes, and in the institutional structures of the EU.

“A joint event with ULB students was an excellent way to finish the College of Europe academic year. The discussions we had during the event covered a wide range of themes, but at the same time, the participants were able to present detailed and creative ideas on each topic. The quality of the discussions illustrated that as a collective, our student body possesses expertise on virtually any policy field the EU deals with. We also found that College and IEE students have a lot in common in terms of their interests and aspirations. The event thus was a valuable networking opportunity as we are about to embark on our professional careers. I hope students of the Vogel-Polsky promotion will get the same opportunity!”  Juuso Järviniemi

The students really enjoyed the day. We now think about the next edition in Bruges with the College of Europe and really hope it becomes a tradition.

More photos of the event here