„Unite in Diversity: Crossing Borders and Creating the Future of Europe”

European GSI Summer School – 13.9. - 22.9.2019

The European GSI School is an annual event, organised by the Gustav-Stresemann-Institute in Bonn. Partner-institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are involved and have been supporting the Summer School for many years.



Celia Conde

Pau Costa Foundation

Crossing borders is sometimes a most difficult job. Which border would you abolish immediately?

Celia Conde: I understand  borders as not  something physical, but a bureaucratic obstacle that slows down a quick action, where time plays a major role in acting, as is the case of forest fires. There is a need for a perfect coordination among several countries when fires exceed their borders. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has this goal but this collaboration has to be further defined at a very specific level in the context of forest fires. An example of what you are trying to do is in COOPEREM, a coordination project between Spanish and French firefighters.
On the other hand, one of the key borders that should not exist   is referent to the gradually increasing obstacles of information dissiminated on-line.. I see it necessary to protect the information disseminated on the Internet from any entity that attempts to hijack the global freedom of information. Working in that direction so that European citizens do not find a Great Firewall one day like, as in China).

Creating the future needs priorities: What is the most important task the EU is facing in the next years?

Celia Conde: Among all the relevant issues that exist, I would like to mention two main ones.
1.- Migration
2.- Climate change crisis
The issue of migration remains a very complicated issue, and in particular regarding refugees. This is a  problem that is clearly not being well managed. This aspect obliges us by force to consider again our human condition and the natural and universal values, which in particular are the same European values that we have in order to act in accordance with our neighbors.
Another important aspect that also makes us to force ourselves to understand the scenario where we live and the relationship with it is the issue of the climate change crisis that we are already suffering and how this crisis is already negatively affecting natural events such as forest fires. Europe would urgently have to make decisions on how to make safe landscapes in the next 20 years. Nowadays, we are not able to fight fires with our conventional means. There are firestorms that devaste ten of thousands of hectares in just few days. We saw this Summer how Amazon or Siberia burnt heavily.
Unfortunately, these fires are no longer the exception and are becoming the  norm in  stressed landscapes like the ones we have now. At this time there is no capacity to extinguish large fires. Thus, the solution is the prevention, the solution is removing the fuel that is impregnated in our forests. How? As our granparents used to do - taking advantage of the natural resources offered by forests: using its wood, building vineyards (which serve as firewalls), encouraging grazing so that goats eat the small leaves and undergrowth  that become fuel etc. All these are actions which will help  to reduce considerably the virulence with which fires are currently attacking, such as in the Amazon.


Opening of the European GSI Summer School
Celebrating the 30th Edition

13.9.2019, 19.30 - 21.30

Crossing borders and the experience of NGOs: Wildfire as an environmental issue in Europe
Celebrating the 30th Edition

14.9.2019, 17.00 - 18.00

Experts overview