EDS Summer University 2020 – Online Conference

The EDS Summer University 2020 took place from 23rd to 26th of July. Because of the international COVID19 situation, the Summer University was conducted fully as an online event, to not put the participants in any unnecessary danger. Despite all of the new challenges that the Bureau and the Council needed to face, it was a great success that the attendance of member organisations held the usual level.

The Office of the Secretary General was not hesitant to take on the extra work required to make sure that this new format would be satisfying for everyone involved. All the sessions of the online event were done using the “Zoom” software.

On Thursday, 23th July, the event started with a conference call with the members of the Council and the Bureau. The Secretary General gave a walk-through of the more sophisticated technical issues, that would come up during the several voting procedures.

In the late morning the first webinar panel discussion of the Summer University 2020 saw

Mr. Carlo Angrisano, Chairman of EDS,  

Mr. Ivan Botoucharov, Vice-Chairman of EDS

and Sir David Roy Lidington, Former Minister of the United Kingdom

leading a conversation on “The future of UK relations with the rest of Europe in a post COVID world”.

The interests of guests and council members were high, extending the webinar session way over the estimated time-frame.

In the afternoon the second webinar panel discussion took place. On the topic of

“Future of work trends post-COVID19” the discussion was led by

Mr. Tomasz Kaniecki, former Secretary General of EDS,

Ms. Roberta Metsola, Member of European Parliament for Malta

and Mr. Beppe Galea, Secretary General of EDS

With the insights of active and former active members of EDS in this conversation, the participants were able to benefit of a multitude of different perspectives.

On Friday 24th of July, the participants of the Summer University 2020 were invited to take part in the third and final webinar panel discussion.

Invited to lead the conversation on “New era of Digitalisation after the Pandemic” were

Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Digital Governance of the Hellenic Republic

Dr. Fotis Fitsilis, Head of Scientific Service of the Hellenic Parliament

Mr. Luca Beccari, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of San Marino

Mr. Vasileios Kesides, Vice-Chairman of EDS

The largest of the three webinar panels, the discussion on future digital work produced many questions from the participants, which highlighted the importance of Europe’s readiness on innovation.

On Saturday 25th of July, the online Council Meeting of the EDS Summer University 2020 started, with almost all the member organisations present from the very beginning. The last session of council of the working year was presided by the former Chairman of EDS Giorgos Chatzigeorgiou.

With all the opening remarks having been given and the member organisations accounted for, the debate on the motion papers and the conference resolution could commence. With a lively debate on all the motion papers, the members of the council proofed once again their high interest in improving the policies of the EPP family, especially on the topics regarding Higher Education in Europe. The online voting system worked properly at all times, and was overlooked by the elected tellers of the council.

The members of the Bureau were then asked to give their reports on their activities for the now ending working year. While the Chairman, Carlo Angrisano, gave a broad insight into the work of an EDS Chairman, with the responsibilities of this office toward the EPP and a lot of outside representation of our organisation, the eight Vice-Chairwomen and Vice-Chairmen presented their work with the tasks that were given to them by the Chairman at the beginning of the last working year. The limited possibilities of activity during the height of the COVID19 outbreak, were a recurring topic in the Bureau Reports.  As always, the members of the Bureau stood ready for questions by the council members, to ensure the level of transparency that has always been important to EDS as a whole. With the unanimous exoneration of the Bureau, the working year of 2019-2020 came to an end.

In the afternoon of the day, the election process of the new EDS Bureau for the working year 2020-2021 began. With an amendment of the EDS statutes at the Winter University in Berlin, the Chairman and the Secretary General would need to be elected in the same voting process on a combined ticket. Mr. Carlo Angrisano and Mr. Beppe Galea had been nominated to the council once again, to take on the responsibilities of EDS Chairman and Secretary General, respectively. With well received candidacy speeches to the council, the voting process worked smoothly and both candidates were elected with a clear majority of the votes.

Beginning the voting of the eight Vice-Chair positions, the conference leadership recognised 11 candidates that had been nominated by member organisations of the council. Seven of the former Vice-Chairs were eligible for re-election, and all seven of those Vice-Chairs were nominated again. The candidacy speeches and questioning rounds of all candidates took up a lot of time, in order to fulfill the traditional EDS level of seriousness and fairness.

With the necessary quorum of votes for election called out by the Secretary General before the beginning of the voting process, the first round saw seven of the eight Vice-Chair positions elected with a majority of the council votes. By order of their election results, the new EDS Vice-Chairwomen and Vice-Chairmen elected in the first round were

Mr. Ivan Botoucharov

Mr. Thomas Belligh

Ms. Valentina Podesta

Mr. Karlo Kolesar

Mr. Iacovos Iacovou  

Mr. Vasileios Kesidis

Mr. Benjamin Welling

All successful candidates accepted their election results happily.

With one spot left open, the second round of voting was proposed for the next day, since the evening had already become late. There were no objections to this proposal.

On Sunday 26th of July, the EDS Council began the day with a role call of all present member organisations by the Secretary General. The leadership of the conference opened the second round of voting for the last open Vice-Chair position for the working year. The successful technical procedure of the day before was used again, with the Tellers overlooking the count of the votes.

With one candidacy withdrawn, three candidates gave short speeches toward the members of the council to gain support. After an open debate of the council on the merits of the candidates, the voting was opened. After votes were counted by the Tellers, the presiding Chair announced that

Ms. Benita Czirkl

had been elected as Vice-Chairwoman of EDS for a second term.

With the elected members of the Bureau complete, the Council was tasked with the confirmation of the Deputy Secretary General, nominated by the Chairman. After the Council decided to have a secret ballot for the confirmation, the result showed a clear majority for

Ms. Christie Maike

as new Deputy Secretary General of EDS.

This left the council on deciding on two Auditors that would report on the financial bookkeeping of EDS for this working year. With this important position traditionally elected with experienced members of EDS, the council voted for

Mr. Tomasz Kaniecki

and Mr. Robert Kiss

to take on responsibilities for this important task.

With extensive reports on their activities during the last working year by the member organisations of the council, Mr. Angrisano gave the closing remarks on the historic online EDS Summer University 2020.

The European Democrat Students have shown, that in every crisis we are able and willing to overcome the obstacles presented to us, to not be stopped in our continuous work for the students and all people of Europe.

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