Young Professionals Seminar: “Common Roots, Common Destiny”

United Europe’s 8th Young Professionals Seminar took place at the Villa Vigoni at Lake Como, Italy from September 23 to 25, 2016. For this workshop, we focussed on:

Europe: Common Roots, Common Destiny?


View of Lake Como from the Villa Vigoni

There is no doubt that as Europeans, we share long and deep roots. All of our countries are closely bound together through a 2000-year history of conquest, conflict and reconciliation, of reforms and revolutions, of ideas and ideals.

Today, all of the EU’s countries are liberal democracies based on the same values of human rights, of freedom and state of law. We are organised in market economies complemented by social security systems. We have a hugely rich and diverse culture based on many common themes and motives.

Quote ChurchillAs the European Union said in its Berlin Declaration of 2007: We are united for the better. Yet will this last? Are we held together strongly enough by our experiences and beliefs to resist the centrifugal forces pulling Europe apart? What can we do to improve the understanding among our nations? This is what we explored at our 8th Young Professionals Seminar which took place at the Villa Vigoni at Lake Como, Italy, from September 23 to 25, 2016.

Our opening speaker was Professor Mario Monti, former Prime Minister of Italy and EU Commissioner. Mr. Monti is a member of the Italien Senate, President of Bocconi University and has a leading role in several pro-European think tanks across Europe.

The Quote Thatchermeeting was mentored by Anthony Ruys, Vice President of United Europe and former CEO of Heineken.

For this seminar, we brought together about  25 young professionals from all parts of Europe. Each of them was asked to prepare some input on the topic reflecting his or her own personal and professional experiences and convictions. These are some of the issues that were raised:

  • What are our common roots in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres? Do we all share them? Are they accessible to the next generation? Is Europe’s narrative of creating peace after our long history of wars still valid?
  • Does Europe have a common destiny? Why should it? Is there a European way of life that we want to safeguard? What does this mean for the millions of recent immigrants? Is Islam part of Europe?
  • What do we need to make the European Union work better? Do we need institutional reform? More integration? What does it mean when people love Europe but dislike the EU?
  • How can we create growth and jobs? How can we reduce inequality? How can we maintain our social security systems?

To get a better idea of this event, please have a look at the reports of our previous Young Professionals Seminars.  If you are interested in future events like this, please contact us on


Villa Mylius-Vigoni

About the Villa Vigoni and the German-Italian Centre for European Excellence:

Villa Vigoni is a bilateral association founded by the German Federal Republic and the Italian Republic. Its aim is to strengthen the relationship between Italy and Germany in the fields of scientific research, higher education and culture. Villa Vigoni fosters the Italian-German dialogue and opens this bilateral dimension towards a European and international dimension. About the history of Villa Vigoni and the German-Italian family whose last descendant created this association through his testament, please read here.

Participants registration details (password protected)

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