From Friday 6 June to Sunday 8 June 2014, Green Foundation Ireland hosted a Summer School at Queen’s University Belfast, on the theme of ‘Greening the EU in the Context of the Eurosceptic debate’.
GFI is very grateful to Maurice Macartney of the Community of Others who made audio recordings of the majority of the talks, as well as the question and answer sessions, and who also produced and introduced the tracks.
OVERVIEW OF SUMMER SCHOOL
FRIDAY 6 JUNE 2014, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
A European history for the 21st century
Philip Orr, historian and playwright, and Erica Meijers, Editor-in-Chief of De Helling, the quarterly journal of Bureau de Helling (the Dutch Green Foundation) discuss the lasting legacy of the First World War for Ireland and Europe. Chaired by Nuala Ahern, Chair of the Green Foundation Ireland.
SATURDAY 7 JUNE 2014, 10:15am – 12:30pm
Rethinking the UK relationship with the EU
Peter Emerson, Director of the de Borda Institute, brings a wealth of experience of monitoring elections in divided societies to bear on a discussion of how the result of an election can be skewed by the way in which it is set up.
Then Jean Lambert, MEP for the English Greens, looks at the relationship between the UK and the EU; Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Greens raises the issue of the forthcoming Scottish independence debate; John Barry of the Green Party in Northern Ireland argues that we need to attend to the insecurities that have driven the rise of the right; and Maria Wetterstrand of the Swedish Cogito organisation sets out a Scandinavian perspective on the issues.
The recording includes some of the discussion at the end of the session. With apologies to John Barry, whose talk appears in a somewhat truncated version here, as a result of technical difficulties.
SATURDAY 7 JUNE 2014, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
How do we make a greener and more socially responsible EU?
Again, technical problems rendered it impossible to include everything in this session – apologies in particular to Alex Warleigh-Lack, whose talk did not come out in the recording. We begin instead with Steven Agnew, MLA and leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, who addresses ways to make Europe more relevant to people in the local context. Maggie Chapman then returns to look at the Common Weal project, and to highlight ways of ensuring that politics serves the common good, rather than serving ‘the market’. And finally, all the panellists join in extensive discussions with a number of participants from the floor.
SATURDAY 7 JUNE 2014, 4:30pm – 6:00pm
WORLD CAFÉ: Energy Future for Europe – Fracking to Fusion?
Saturday’s final session focussed on energy, in particular the merits and flaws of shale gas as a transitional fuel. Presenting the ‘sunny side of fracking’, as he put it, was Stefan Andreasson of Queen’s University Belfast; Ross Brown, newly elected to Belfast City Council for the Greens, called upon much recent research to show that the economic and ecological effects of shale gas are ‘horrid’.
SUNDAY 8 JUNE 2014, 10:30am – 12:00 noon
What do we learn from Belfast?
To bring the Summer School to a close, John Barry returned, in his guise as Professor of Politics at Queen’s, to give his perspective on conflict management and transformation, particularly through an analysis of the Belfast (or ‘Good Friday’) Agreement, a document that helped bring ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland to an end. Benoît Lechat, Editor-in-Chief of the Green European Foundation’s Green European Journal, spoke of the necessity of interconnecting resilient, open local communities with broader institutions like the EU, and developing larger levels of solidarity.