"Europe: find yourself again!" May 21, 2016
The Federation International de Droit Européen (FIDE) was established in 1961 in Brussels for the study and development of European law to underpin the budding efforts in the harmonization of law. The bulk of FIDE work is carried out in the national associations, yet from the very beginning a biennial congress was organized by one of the national associations. In line with FIDE traditions, such biennial congresses are attended by several hundreds of participants partaking actively in congress discussions. The presidency of FIDE is held by the president of the national association preparing for hosting the biennial congress. The decision was taken in 2010 in Madrid that this years' FIDE XXVII Congress will be hosted by the Hungarian Association; as a result, the President of the Hungarian FIDE Association, Péter Darák, President of the Kúria, and András Zs. Varga, dean of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University acted as President and Vice-President of FIDE, respectively.
It has been the tradition of FIDE that the organizational work, including the organization of the professional and social events of the Congress is carried out by one of the outstanding legal faculties of the host state. In 2014 the legal faculty of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University had the honour of being appointed to organize the Congress.
Based on the above, the FIDE Congress is an outstanding international event, providing both Hungary and the Péter Pázmány Catholic University with the opportunity to reinforce its position in Union law scholarship and legal practice, and enabling the latter to determine the main topics of the Congress. The speakers and participants of the Congress are traditionally the most important personalities of European legal scholarship, such as the judges of the Court of Justice of the European Union, its Advocates General, as well as the officials of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, furthermore, leading officials of the Member States and professors of prestigious European universities also participate in the Congress. The Hungarian Association of FIDE suggested the following main topics for discussion at the 2016 Budapest Congress: European Banking Union, Private Enforcement and Collective Redress in European Competition Law, Division of Competences and Regulatory Powers Between the EU and the Member States. Besides the main topics, the first and last days' plenary sessions included important issues of European integration, such as the true identity of European law, EU external relations with special attention to the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (to be concluded between the European Union and the United States).
Following up on the Danish initiative, the Pázmány Péter Catholic University with the generous support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung also organized a Doctoral Conference preceding the FIDE Congress.
The participants of the XXVII FIDE Congress were greeted by Péter Darák of the Kúria and President of FIDE and Rev. Szabolcs Anzelm Szuromi O. Praem. Chancellor of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University at the opening ceremony held on 19 May. The Chancellor emphasized the necessity of establishing a Ius Commune Europae, a common European legal order, which could be modelled upon the example of a possible codification of European private law, an area of law where both the demand for integration and the need for preserving national characteristics are prevalent. Opening speeches were held by the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Professor Koen Lenaerts of the Catholic University of Leuven, the Hungarian Minister of Justice, Professor László Trócsányi and the Deputy Director-General of the European Commission, Francisco Fonseca Morillo, focusing on the different values in European law.
The three main topics of the Congress were discussed during the morning of 19 May and the morning and afternoon session on 20 May. To prepare these discussions, the general rapporteurs of the three topics produced questionnaires which were filled out in detail by the national rapporteurs. The general rapporteurs also compiled summary reports and the leading officials of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission – the so-called institutional rapporteurs – also submitted their institutional reports. As a result of this elaborate preparatory work, ample material was provided to enable lively and substantive discussion.
Following the plenary sessions on the last Congress day, the Portuguese FIDE Association took over the presidency for the new two years and shall act as the host of the next XXVIII FIDE Congress. Professor András Zs. Varga, dean of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University summarized the main results of the Congress. In his closing address, he stressed that the future of the European Union lies in the spirit of „uniting in diversity", an approach that also guarantees a future for Hungary. For many centuries we have lived with and among other nations, without however losing our own constitutional identity. This identity made it possible for Hungary to survive the Ottoman invasion and occupation in the 16th and 17th centuries. Professor Varga referred to the fact that at the time Péter Pázmány founded his namesake university, the larger part of Hungary was under occupation – including both Buda and Pest. In closing, he quoted the words of Pope Saint John Paul II spoken more than thirty years ago in Santiago de Compostela: "Europe: find yourself again! Be yourself! Revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your present so beneficial ... you can still be the guiding light of civilization and the stimulus of progress for the world."
An English language short documentary of the Congress can be found here.