Foreword by President Dehousse

AuthorRenaud Dehousse
ProfessionPresident of the European University Institute Florence, November 2020
Professor Renaud Dehousse,
President of the EUI
Universities are not merely the crucible in which knowledge is developed and taught.
They also contribute in multiple ways to the life of the society in which they are em-
bedded, by contributing ideas to the public debate, fostering dialogue on disputed issues
or providing expert advice to policy-makers. Today, all these tasks are considered to be
      
a fortiori, true for an institution
     
         
European society’. Member countries’ interest in the institution would likely fade if they
Europe’ in the Florence Convention of 1972, by which the Institute was created.
The protection of human rights was bound to feature prominently in the Institute’s
the excesses of state sovereignty to prevent the repetition of past horrors, leading to
the conclusion of the European Convention on Human Rights only a few years after
 
                
turn gave rise to a question: what was to be the place of human rights in the policies
 
into the details of the controversy, let it be said that the answer to the question was far
from obvious, whether because of the very existence of the Human Rights Convention
or because the European Union’s competence to deal with human rights was contested.
one defends on law and policy issues are often imbued with value considerations.
what it should say, which calls for a confrontation between various disciplines in the
social sciences and the humanities. No wonder then that it became a matter of sustained
attention at the Institute.
Activities in this area were often conducted in partnership with the European institu-
tions. Since the 1970s, the European Parliament has been a strong supporter of a hu-
man rights policy, which in 1989 would lead to the adoption of its own Declaration of
fundamental rights and freedoms. In 1978, at the Parliament’s request, the Institute ho-
sted a large conference bringing together representatives of the European institutions
     
    
and national levels’ on the idea of a charter of rights for European Community citizens

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