Bangor Centre for International Law’s inaugural EU Day a resounding success
The Bangor Centre for International Law at Bangor Law School held its inaugural EU Day on 13th March 2013.
Mr Mark Hyland, Co-Deputy Director of the Bangor Centre for International Law, organised the event and welcomed both speakers and attendees. He said it was gratifying to see such a strong attendance, particularly of postgraduate students from non-EU countries. Clearly, their period of study in the UK had ignited their interest in the EU. Mr Hyland offered a special word of thanks to some of the Law School’s postgraduate students who assisted so ably with the organisation of the event, in particular, Ms Tamara Bukatz and Mr Shamsalden (Sham) Aziz Salh.
Professor Suzannah Linton, Professor of International Law and Director of the Bangor Centre for International Law, opened the event and chaired its proceedings. Head of School and EU Law expert, Professor Dermot Cahill, gave an informative and stimulating introduction to the history of the European Union and shared his perspectives on why it was so critical for the United Kingdom to remain within the system.
The keynote speaker, Mr. David Hughes, Head of the European Commission's office in Wales, spoke on ‘The EU law making process: a view from the European Commission Office in Wales’. Through this insightful presentation, the meeting was able to benefit from an insider’s understanding of the workings of the Commission and the functioning of the wider EU.
Dr David Sullivan, Head of School at the School of Lifelong Learning, Bangor University, spoke on ‘Citizenship and Identity in the European Union’, providing the audience with much food for thought on the nature of citizenship and identity in general terms and in the EU, triggering off much discussion about these issues in a British, and Welsh, context. Mr Brian Jones of the Bangor Business School, who has been taking Bangor University students to visit the European institutions for 18 years, challenged the audience with a reflection on ‘What is the point of the EU? - the need for a new rationale’. It was clear to him that there was a disconnect with ordinary citizens, notably in the United Kingdom, who do not understand what the EU is all about, and mix this institution up with the Council of Europe, which manages the European Convention on Human Rights. Bangor Law School lecturer, Mr Mark Hyland, spoke about his area of specialisation, ‘Protection of intellectual property rights at EU level’, and presented recent developments in this area. Dr Evelyne Schmid of Bangor Law School considered whether her country could provide a model for the United Kingdom if it withdrew from the Union, and spoke on ‘Switzerland and the EU: A Model to Follow for Britain or Evidence of a Complicated Relationship?’.
The meeting concluded with a stimulating panel discussion on the troubled relations between the UK and the EU, and the Prime Minister's recent pledge to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership by 2017. The Law School kindly sponsored a reception afterwards.
Professor Suzannah Linton, Chair of the event, underscored the importance of the event: “It is very important that we continue to bring events on such critical and controversial issues to our academic community here at Bangor”. She affirmed that EU Day would become a regular fixture in the events of the centre. Professor Linton also pointed out that the Law School offers an LLM in International Law specialising in EU Law and welcomed students to the programme.
Publication date: 22 March 2013