Welcome note from Didier Hespel
Dear AIACE members,
As you are aware we unfortunately had to cancel the 2020 and 2021 Congresses because of the covid-19 pandemic. However, we can now announce that the Congress will now take place in 2022 on 14-20 May with a similar programme. We’ll be following the format that proved a success in Lisbon last year, with two half-days of talks and discussions with well-known speakers focusing on European issues, followed by the General Assembly and our usual workshop sessions. And of course, representatives of the administration will be on hand to update you on new developments. Our international helpdesk will be there as well, to steer you through the Commission’s various IT applications. A workshop will also be held on insurances, in response to the many questions we’ve received from members. As with the Lisbon Congress we will again be offering a choice between an all-in package, and an à la carte formula for the different events (though there will be a registration fee to help defray our organisation costs).
Loutraki is a small seaside resort on the Gulf of Corinth, famous since Roman times for its therapeutic natural springs. Our working sessions will take place in a beautiful seafront hotel close to the town itself. Transfers will be laid on from Athens airport, which has flights from most European cities. The average temperature in Loutraki in May is 21°, and the weather is generally sunny, though there is always the slight possibility of a passing shower.
We hope you’ll join us in Loutraki for the 2021 Congress and enjoy a relaxed break with former colleagues.
Secretary General, in charge of the organization of the Congress
Welcome note from Despina Vamvakidou
If our annual Congress had taken place in Loutraki last year, it would have been exactly 10 years since the Hellenic Section of AIACE had the pleasure to welcome the AIACE annual Congress in Thessaloniki, although our section had not yet completed its second year of operation. At that time, the economic crisis had just begun in our country, and nobody knew how it would end.
In the meantime, Greece succeeded to overcome the economic crisis with the assistance of the European Union. However, in 2020 the whole world was struck by another crisis, which led to the postponement of our annual gathering. We wished to organize the Congress in the southern part of our country, in Loutraki and Corinth, two cities separated by the Isthmus Channel in Peloponnese, and we decided to keep the same venue in Loutraki and Corinth for the annual Congress on 2022.
The Hellenic Section of AIACE has therefore the honour of inviting you to meet in 2022 in a region of Greece full of history, ancient and modern, surrounded by a crystal clear sea, mountains full of pines and other trees, with a very rich subsoil and thermal sources, a mild climate and strong agricultural tradition. During the winter time, there are crops of oranges and lemons and during the summer months there is a large production of peaches, apricots, pears, olives, and above all, the famous grapes from which the Corinthian raisin is made. Historically, hospitality was understood in Greece as a moral obligation. For us it will be additionally a real pleasure to meet you in the country which became the cradle of our civilisation and the source of our values.
I look forward to seeing you in Loutraki.
Welcome note from Dominique Deshayes
Λουτράκι (Loutraki) the ancient settlement of Thermae, is the spa town on the Gulf of Corinth to which I have the great pleasure of inviting you for our 2022 Annual Congress. Once again, to our delight, Greece, the cradle of Europe, has extended a welcome to us for our annual meeting: in 2010, we met in Thessaloniki, where the bright presence of the sea and the imprint of Byzantium left lasting memories. And from the north of the Aegean Sea, this time we travel down to the Gulf of Corinth, the crossroads of 2,500 years of monumental historical clashes and memories.
The use of therapeutic spas (or thalassotherapy to stick closer to the Greek), reminds us of Greek and Roman culture. Thermal springs have made evocative appearances in a whole host of literary works: from Marcel Proust and Stefan Zweig, through Thomas Mann to Françoise Sagan … not forgetting Agatha Christie along the way.
This traditional place of healing, rest and calm calls to us to take the time to foregather, share common memories as former servants of the European Civil Service, and to take an opportunity to remind ourselves of our statutory role and at the same time to reflect on and discuss developments in that Europe which is so dear to us.
While the Lisbon Congress was an extraordinary occasion that culminated in the celebration of AIACE’s Golden Jubilee, and saw our fine public service placed at the centre of our reflections, this time the calendar is marked by the beginning of a new institutional cycle, with a new Commission, presided over – an historic event – by a woman, and a new Parliament, with announced priorities which include advancing the European cause. Our 2021 Congress provides us with a stimulating opportunity to reaffirm our European commitment in the famously friendly ambiance of this annual gathering.
The programme for Loutraki will include a round table discussion, as trialled in Lisbon, giving us an opportunity to discuss topical issues and interesting developments on the European agenda.
Finally, as in Lisbon, where this alternative formula proved attractive to some, participants will have the possibility, if they so wish, of registering on a “DIY basis”, which allows everyone to make their own independent arrangements as regards the choice of accommodation and length of stay.
I look forward to welcoming you in large numbers in Loutraki in a post-Covid finally recovered atmosphere.
Yours, with warmest wishes,
President of AIACE International