Webster Athens Hosts Roundtable with Embassy on Refugees, Migration, European Policy

Sep. 22, 2016

"The Future of Europe and the European Future of EU’s Eastern Neighborhood" 

Webster University was host to a roundtable discussion on “The Future of Europe and the European Future of EU’s Eastern Neighborhood,” organized by the embassy of Georgia to the Hellenic Republic, at the Webster Athens Cultural Center on Sept.12.

Vasilis J. Botopoulos, chancellor and managing director of Webster Athens, welcomed the ambassadors from Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Czech Republic, the head of Political Sector/EU representative in Greece, and opened the floor to the distinguished panelists: T. Dokos, K. Filis, A. Drougos, scholars and educators in the areas of security and defense, Webster faculty and Webster Athens students.

Botopoulos stressed the importance of such events, as they touch upon current socio-political issues of common interest but are also exemplary of how acting leaders can join in cooperation to address such issues and eventually reach agreeable solutions.

The panel discourse was very informative as various political and geo-political issues were raised and “pragmatic” views and probable solutions were voiced. These included Britain’s exit from the EU, expansion of the European economy and legitimate trade, the curbing of migration -- a priority in Europe --  the terror of ISIS and security restrictions, and the problems and future plans of the Eastern- European states.

According to the ambassador of Georgia, Ioseb Nanobashvili, “Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova are currently facing an identity and values crisis,” but he is hopeful that the EU will recognize their shared efforts, and new opportunities and challenges will be opened for them.

Reforms are on the way, and as K. Filis, director of the Institute of International Research, proposed: “EU membership depends on these Eastern European states’ need to be alert to and to have the communication channel open in order to come to workable solutions.”

The spirit of the event was invigorating and enlightening, thus promising future gatherings and resolvable outcomes for such critical topics.

Submitted by Dina Skias, director Odyssey in Athens Study Abroad Program

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