The Future of the EU Summit

18 October 2017


Bradley Forum
Level 5, Hawke Building
City West Campus

Event details  I  About  I  Keynote speaker  I  Panellists  I  Program  I  Participants  I  Contact 

Event details

Date Wednesday 18 October 2017
Time 1.00pm - 7.00pm
Venue Bradley Forum
Level 5, Hawke Building
City West Campus
Download campus map

Event Photos


The Future of the EU Summit

By Shamsiya Mohammadi

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) after more than four decades poses significant challenges for the world’s largest economic and political union. 

Just over a year after Brexit, the Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities, Migrations and Cultural Transformations hosted ‘The Future of the EU Summit’ to bring together EU specialists, academics, policy analysts and public servants from across the globe for a day of discussion over the pressing issues facing the world post Brexit. 

The Summit was an opportunity to discuss the prospects for multilateral cosmopolitanism – the idea that urgent global issues must be addressed by multilateral institutions internationally – and the shifting political dynamics in the EU, with a focus on EU-Australia relations. 

Forming part of the Joint EU Centres Conference held in conjunction with an event earlier in the week at RMIT in Melbourne, the Summit consisted of two keynote addresses and panel discussions before culminating in a dialogue with the wider audience. 

EU Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Dr Michael Pulch presented a wide-ranging opening address focused on a number of issues, including migration, terrorism, populism, nationalism and trade, with suggestions for possible approaches towards these issues. 

Migration and terrorism are undoubtedly two major issues facing Europe and the world today. In discussing migration (including forced migration), Dr Pulch emphasised the importance of addressing the root causes for migration rather than only the symptoms and the consequences. Moreover, Dr Pulch urges a horizontal approach to terrorism and organised crime, in which he believes internal coordination and links among different countries is central to addressing the issue. 

Dr Pulch remarked upon the social and political impacts of increasing mobility in Europe, touching on populism and nationalism, which he believes both have a significant influence on foreign policy decisions. Whilst he agrees populism is currently contained in Europe, he also indicates that it is an area for improvement as the issue is not entirely ‘defeated’. 

Dr Pulch concluded by emphasising how positive he feels towards the future of EU and Australia relations, though reiterating he believes there is more that can be done, and needs to be done, by both parties. He also noted that the EU’s impact post Brexit should not be underestimated, as he considers the EU the most important investor in and trading partner with Australia. 

Professor of European Integration at the University of Athens, Loukas Tsoukalis delivered the second keynote address on ‘Europe’s Multiple Crises, and the Way Out?’.

President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Greece’s main think tank), Professor Tsoukalis was an important voice in the dialogue focussing on economic globalisation and technology advancements.
A notable part of Professor Tsoukalis’s keynote was his reference to the impact of neo-liberalism on the EU where he believes we are witnessing the end of an era in a political sense. 

These key presentations were complemented by two expert panel discussions. Both panels consisted of members who each gave an overview of their area of research and overall outlook on the issue at hand. Nineta Barbulescu, Ambassador of Romania to Australia, was among the panellists. 

Ms Barbulescu holds a very positive outlook on the EU, reflecting back on Europe’s past and its involvement in World War I, World War II and the Cold war. 

Ms Barbulescu believes Europe’s current situation with Brexit and the global financial crisis is incomparable to these past events that Europe managed to survive and thrive after, and thus that it is important to remember there is ‘life after Brexit’. 

As with all of the speeches and discussion that occurred at the ‘Future of the EU’ Summit, Ms Barbulescu’s contributions significantly dealt with the pressures and opportunities that arise from multilateral cooperation across Europe and the world.

Future of the EU Summit Attendees

Pictured Above (from L-R): Prof Susan Luckman, Melissa Conley-Tyler, Consul General Andreas Gouras, Prof Anthony Elliott, Prof Loukas Tsoukalis, H.E. Mrs Nineta Barbulescu, H.E. Dr Michael Pulch, Honorary Consul Ileana Corban


Shamsiya Mohammadi is the Hawke EU Centre 2017 Journalism Intern


The Future of the EU Summit engaged the pressing issue of the prospects for multilateral cosmopolitanism, global justice and alternative political futures in the EU, and with specific reference to the future of EU-Australia relations. 

The Summit took place against the political backdrop of the arrival of a new age of isolationism arising from a series of policy reversals and electoral shocks - from Brexit and the withdrawal of the UK from the EU to the resurgence of nationalist sentiment rising across Europe to the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA.  A key challenge in this context is how best to understand the complex interplay of globalization and de-globalization which traverses relations between the EU and Australia in the coming decades of the 21st century?  In addressing this question, the Summit will brought together academics, EU specialists, Ambassadors and consul-generals, policy analysts and public servants.

Whilst the principal focus of the Summit was dialogue and debate among participants, there was also a keynote lecture delivered by Professor Loukas Tsoukalis - Professor of European Integration at the University of Athens; recently Visiting Professor at Harvard University; and, President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (Greece’s main think tank).

The Future of the EU Summit formed part of the Joint EU Centres Conference held at RMIT University in Melbourne from 16 – 18 October 2017.

Keynote speaker

Tsoukalis, LoukasProfessor Loukas Tsoukalis was born in Athens, Greece. He studied economics and international relations at the University of Manchester, the College of Europe in Bruges, and the University of Oxford where he obtained his doctoral degree. He taught for many years at Oxford University and later became Professor at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He returned to Greece as Professor of European Integration at the University of Athens and has been for many years President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), which is Greece’s main think tank.

He is the author of many books, including some of the bestsellers in the field, which have been translated into several languages. His latest book In Defence of Europe: Can the European Project Be Saved? was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.



Ms Melissa Conley Tyler
National Executive Director, Australian Institute of International Affairs

Professor Richard Pomfret 
Director, EU Centre for Global Affairs, University of Adelaide

Mr Laurent Pointud
Director, Alliance Française


H.E. Mrs Nineta Barbulescu 
Ambassador of Romania to Australia

Emeritus Professor Robert Holton
Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia

Professor Loukas Tsoukalis

Professor of European Integration, University of Athens and  Visiting Professor, Harvard University

Associate Professor Bruno Mascitelli
Swinburne University of Technology

The full list of confirmed speakers will be avavailable soon.


The Summit principally involved a keynote address and two panel discussions followed by discussion with the wider audience. The aim of the panels was to explore the state of the European Union in the current political environment and how it may develop in the future.


Search for an event

View events by

Event type
Academic units

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise