Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, took part on 3 May 2022 in a conference organised at the Palais Universitaire by the Vice-Presidency of Europe and International Relations and the International Relations Directorate of Unistra, in the framework of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Welcomed in "the most European of French universities" by Michel Deneken, President of the University of Strasbourg, and Irini Tsamadou-Jacoberger, Vice-President of Europe and International Relations, Mariya Gabriel gave an engaging speech on the driving role of universities in Europe in the framework of the new European strategy for universities, adopted in January 2022. She stressed that "if we want to respond to the challenges we face and to those we do not yet know, we need research, education and innovation, and all of this also requires the affirmation of our democratic values".
She added that she was "counting on universities to be the driving force behind the production and transmission of knowledge, and European cooperation, in order to have committed, critical, well-informed European citizens who carry a humanist voice and defend European values".
Frédérique Berrod, Vice-President Finance, Professor of European Law, Jean Monnet Chair, at the University of Strasbourg, underlined the political priority that the construction of the European Research and Higher Education Area represents today. Referring to two fundamental principles of the European Union, namely the sharing of competences and mutual recognition, Frédérique Berrod asked Mariya Gabriel about the resources and means likely to improve and strengthen the partnership between the European Commission and the Member States. She added that "Europe and the need for Europe is central for students who are looking for that European experience.
Encouraging the boldness of higher education actors, Mariya Gabriel reaffirmed the importance of e-skills, the development of European University Alliances and the deployment of the European Student Card initiative as means and tools to achieve the objectives. She insisted on the knowledge triangle - research, innovation and education - stressing that "we need to work together at local, national and European levels, uniting the academic and scientific research community, the business community and the non-governmental sectors to make this vision for Europe a reality".
Michel Deneken concluded the exchange conference by warmly thanking Mariya Gabriel for her pragmatic vision and speech. "You can count on the University of Strasbourg to make more Europe. Know that you are at home here, at the University of Strasbourg.