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Newsletter No.1: December 2020

Happy and healthy 2021 to all. This is the first issue of our termly newsletter.

The first term of this academic year has been very hectic, largely because of the practical implications that the pandemic has had on Birkbeck's teaching provision with all classes moving online. However, we are pleased to announce that the Jean Monnet Chair's brand new website is up and running - take a look at the Jean Monnet Chair website. It contains information of this Monnet project's various aspects, including the modulesresearchevents and people who are associated with it. Please send us your comments, if you have any. 

The new Monnet site also includes our logo which was designed by Ms Maria Zampara on the basis of two essential materials: the EU's flag and the symbolic depiction of the composition of the first directly elected European Parliament (1979) in an effort to highlight the centrality of democratic contestation in the process of European integration and this particular Jean Monnet Chair project. We would like to record our gratitude to Ms Zampara as well as all those, including some who are recipients of this newsletter, who have commented on previous draft designs.

In that context, we are also very pleased to announce that the Jean Monnet Chair's Advisory Board has been set up and includes distinguished senior current and retired European Commission officials (Ms Maria Cristina Russo, Ms Georgette Lalis and Mr Paolo Ponzano), as well as established and younger researchers (Professor Hussein Kassim and Dr Marco Scipioni).  

The year started well with Dr Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos attending the kick-off conference held for all new Jean Monnet Chair holders online on 26 November.


A total of 52 students have registered to attend the three Jean Monnet modules (The European Union Polity, and Comparative European Politics: Europeanisation, Contestation, Integration at undergraduate level, and The European Union: Integration, Politics and Policy at postgraduate level) this year, although teaching plans have had to be finalised unusually late in the cycle, i.e. after the understandably later than usual announcement of the results of the annual competition for Jean Monnet Chairs.


We are also pleased to announce that the first three Jean Monnet events will take place this term. Due to the pandemic, all will be held online. All are open to the public but registration is required and free. The details can be found below.


The first will take place on Saturday 9 January 2021 (9am-1pm GMT) and will focus on 'The UK, the EU and Parliamentary Democracy'. It is a Saturday school for Politics and Government A-level teachers and their pupils. The speakers will be Dr D. G. Dimitrakopoulos (Jean Monnet Chair, Birkbeck) and Mr Matthew Bevington (researcher in the UK in a Changing EU think tank and doctoral student in Birkbeck’s Department of Politics). 


The second will be the inaugural Jean Monnet lecture that will be given by Ms Emily O’Reilly from the European Ombudsman. The EU Accountability: an Ombudsman Perspective event will take place on Tuesday 23 February 2021 (6.15-8pm GMT). Ms Emily O’Reilly has been instrumental in improving transparency in EU decision making and promoting higher ethical standards in EU administration. We are delighted that she has agreed to give the inaugural Jean Monnet lecture. 


The third event will take the form of a roundtable discussion focusing on 'Reform inside Economic and Monetary Union and the Limits of Parliamentary Government: the Case of Greece' and will be held on Thursday 25 February 2021, from 6.15-8pm GMT). We are delighted to welcome a stellar cast of speakers, namely:

  • Mr Declan Costello, Deputy Director General, DG ECFIN, European Commission
  • Ms Georgette Lalis, European Commission (ret.), former deputy head of the Athens office of the European Commission’s Task Force for Greece
  • Dr George Chouliarakis, Senior Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard University and former Alternate Finance Minister in the second Tsipras government (2015-2019)
  • Professor Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Chair, London School of Economics & Political Science


Four new episodes have been produced during the past term: one on the EU's reaction to the pandemic, one on the 2020 European week for regions and cities, one on what Europe can expect from the Biden administration and one on the implications of a (potential) no-deal Brexit. Watch the the new Talking Europe episiodes on YouTube.


Follow us on Twitter: @JMCatBirkbeck and @DGDimitrakop

You can always reach us via e-mail.  or .

The next edition of our newsletter will be published in March 2021.

Jean Monnet Chair in Parliamentary Democracy and European Integration
Birkbeck College, University of London
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX