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Europe

Call for EU People's University

The person charged with bringing Europe closer to its citizens is making plans for what she called a 'people's university' where the future of Europe can be discussed.

Margot Wallström, who takes on the brand new communications portfolio from Nov. 1, told members of the European parliament on Thursday that she wants to create a European meeting place "where individuals and groups can exchange views, whether they are groups of teachers, trade unionists, young people or bus drivers -­ in short a people's university." This meeting place is to be in Terezín in the Czech Republic, the site of a former Nazi oncentration camp. Looking to a practice by the United Nations, she also said that she wants to create "alternative conferences" organized by NGOs. These would take place at the same time as European Summits ­- there are two formal gatherings of EU leaders per year. "We can invite civil society to organize the conferences as they see fit but we can make the premises available, promise to listen and respond", said the Swede who is one of the few commissioners going on to serve a second term. But most of her three hour hearing, which was characterised by a generally good­ natured debate, focussed on how the Commission would deal with the forthcoming referendums on the European Constitution. (EUobserver.com)

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