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European University Institute

Von der Leyen, Okonjo-Iweala, Georgieva and 150 speakers join #SOU2021

The 10th anniversary of The State of the Union Conference (6-8 May) discusses “Europe in a Changing World”.

03 May 2021

SOU 2021_WIP

An unprecedented number of high-ranking international decision-makers and academics from across the world will join the 10th edition of The State of the Union Conference. Organised by the European University Institute in Florence, “Europe in a Changing World” (6-7 May 2021) will discuss Europe’s role on the global stage, zooming in on eight topics ranging from artificial intelligence to peace and human rights.

Since 2011, The State of the Union Conference is the annual summit for high-level reflection on the EU. This year’s anniversary edition will take place on an innovative digital platform designed to bolster engagement between the speakers and the distinguished audience.

Decision-makers from around the world expected

Leading voices from Europe and beyond will take the stage, including Heads of Government, Government Ministers, European Commissioners and Heads of International Organisations.

Among the speakers are Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization; Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank; Ursula von der Leyen, President, European Commission; Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italy; Edi Rama, Prime Minister, Albania; Ayşe Cihan Sultanoğlu, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations and Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, European Commission.

With more than 150 speakers on the programme, the 10th edition of The State of the Union will be the largest to date.

Professor Renaud Dehousse, President of the European University Institute, said:
We are proud to welcome such an impressive array of top-level speakers to discuss Europe’s role on the global stage. Over the past decade, The State of The Union Conference has firmly established itself as a key forum for discussion on the most pertinent issues facing Europe and Europeans. When policy-makers and academics meet, innovative ideas for policy-making in challenging times are born.”

Europe and the world in eight topics

The two-day conference is packed with plenary addresses, one-on-one conversations and panel debates. Participants will discuss Europe’s role on the global stage in sessions on artificial intelligence, climate, geopolitics, the global economy, multilateralism, peace and human rights, public health, and strategic autonomy.

The State of the Union opens on the morning of 6 May 2021 with a high-level address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio will deliver the closing remarks on the evening of 7 May 2021.

A select expert audience will be invited to take part via an interactive event platform and the full event will be livestreamed at from Thursday 6 May, 09:00 AM CEST onwards.

#SOU4YOU: Bringing The State of the Union Closer to Citizens

The two-day conference will be complemented by an in-person event for over 300 students and young activists on Saturday 8 May. The live show with artists, influencers, and Members of the European Parliament is part of the Citizens Engagement Actions co-funded by the EP.

#SOU4YOU – Bringing the State of the Union Closer to Citizens aims at creatively engaging young people, civil society organisations, and minority representatives on the big questions facing Europe to make sure the wider public feels part of the debate. It will also represent a symbolic stepping stone towards the Conference on the Future of Europe which will be launched on the following day in Strasbourg.


Last update: 26 January 2022

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