The President of the European Court of Justice, Vassilios Skouris in Argo – Hellenic Network in Belgium

“You just need to think about what would happen if the European Union –the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the Court– stopped working for 15 days, or to put it in more market-relevant terms, if the internal, single market stopped working. Just thinking about that, it becomes worthwhile defending and attempting to firmly establish the European idea,” said Mr. Vassilios Skouris, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, at a dinner held in his honour by ARGO – the Hellenic Network in Belgium, in Brussels on 11.5.2015.

In a concise and pithy talk entitled “The European Union as a community of ‘shared’ values” the President of the European Court of Justice pointed out that, “the general image of the European Union isn’t that great, firstly because the results of the economic crisis are perceptible and secondly a series of other problems, such as migration and terrorism, have increased in importance”. Mr. Skouris said that, “against that background, Europe is not seen as a solution, but as part of the problem,” and went on to stress that, “one needs to set the Europe of core values up against that perspective on things”.

“Unfortunately today references to law and coercion via the law occupy a small position in political discourse. The fact that discussions only relate to the economic situation and the crisis in Europe have contributed to this; while these are issues of major importance they should not be the sole topic of discussion. In Europe today, we have extremist voices, extremist parties, centrifugal tendencies, discussions about bringing back the death penalty, instances of racism and xenophobia, and an attack on the European idea and trends towards isolationism among certain European countries which would have been inconceivable in previous years,” stressed Mr. Skouris, and concluded by saying that “we need to be critical of these phenomena and react against them”.
As always, the talk was followed by questions from the floor, which had to do with legal issues and topics of general interest about Europe and Greece.

In line with tradition, at the end of the evening, we offered our esteemed guest a symbolic gift. Our ‘investigations’ had revealed that Mr. Skouris is interested in Greek cinema! To help him familiarise himself more with a new subject area, we offered him the ‘Dictionary of Greek Films’, which contains information about around 2,500 Greek films from 1914 to 2001!

PS: New and old friends of the Network can visit our website There’s also an ARGO group on Linkedin (Argo – Hellenic Network in Belgium).