The European Commission's Directorate-General of Communication held a seminar on the 2nd and 3rd of December (2019) for the European Documentation Centres (EDC) in which about 100 EDCs from EU Member States took part. Portugal’s EDCs included those of the Instituto Politécnico de Leiria, the Universidade da Madeira, the Universidade de Aveiro, the Universidade de Évora, the Universidade do Algarve, the Universidade dos Açores, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Lisboa and Porto, the Universidade Lusíada - Lisboa and Norte (Porto), represented by their Coordinators, Liliana dos Santos Gonçalves, Maria Iolanda Pereira, Margarida Almeida, António Cachopas, Maria João Barradas, Rolando Gonçalves, Ana Folque de Gouveia, Maria João Pinto, Helder da Rocha Machado, and Olinda Simões Martins, respectively. This year, a Portuguese Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) was also invited, the EDIC from Alto Alentejo, represented by Ana Simão Pereira.
This year’s hot topic was the outreach of the EDC network to the academic community. After the opening addresses delivered by Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, and Prof. Renaud Dehousse, President of the European University Institute, the first round of parallel sessions included several reflections upon the best practices for strengthening contacts with key EDC network partners in order to involve the academic community more closely in the debate on the future of the European Union, namely practices for cooperating with host structures and academic staff, closer partnership with other Europe Direct networks, and joining forces with other EU networks.
This round was followed by a brainstorming session on views and ideas on how to forge closer partnership between EDCs and other networks, for a more efficient outreach. By the end of the session, EDCS gathered a number of ideas on how to promote a closer cooperation with academia, how to promote EU priorities, and how to overcome eventual obstacles to increase their outreach. The first day of the seminar concluded with a guided visit to the Historical Archives of the European Union.
On the last day of the event presentations focused on the Publication Office portal, on European programs, opportunities and resources for students and researchers, on a case study of information exchange between European Information Centers worldwide, and on the challenges of the EU web archive.
Closing the event, Alessandro Giordani, from the Directorate-General of Communication thanked the participation of the EDCs and stressed the importance of the network’s role in the promotion of an active European citizenship. It is a network with a key positioning - inside academic environment -, and a crucial partner to help reduce the gap between EU and its citizens, created by growing populism and Euroscepticism. The new Partnership Agreement, signed in 2008, invites EDCs to keep up to date on EU policies and programs and to stimulate debates and other initiatives on European topics within academia. In this regard, the European Commission will support such initiatives, but recognizes the limitations of each EDC. The Commission recommends EDCs to establish collaborative partnerships with EDICs and Team Europe and to promote the dissemination of EU initiatives such as the European Commission's latest priority, the European Green Deal.