FMA Annual Events
6-7 December 2023

Participation and AI in Europe - towards the 2024 European Elections

The FMA Annual Events took place on 6-7 December 2023 at the European Parliament in Brussels. Starting off, Former MEPs attended an EPRS event commemorating the late President of the European Parliament and Former President of the FMA, José María GIL-ROBLES GIL-DELGADO. Current FMA President Klaus HÄNSCH introduced the event, representing European Parliament President Roberta METSOLA.

President HÄNSCH honoured José María GIL-ROBLES GIL-DELGADO by quoting the late President: “The association has filled a gap, one that would have been very regrettable; it has enabled those of us who at one time or another have represented Europeans, to remain in contact and has been able to draw on the knowledge acquired over the years and ensure that it is used to consolidate this ‘sui generis’ body which brings together and channels our peace efforts.”

From left to right: FMA Secretary General, Elisabetta Fonck, Former EP and FMA President Enrique BARÓN CRESPO, Former EP President and FMA President Klaus Hänsch, Former EP and FMA President Hans-Gert Pöttering

The event was also attended by Former Presidents of the European Parliament and Former FMA Presidents Enrique BARÓN CRESPO and Hans-Gert PÖTTERING. There were eyewitness accounts by Enrique BARÓN CRESPO, Former President of the European Parliament, and Jaume DUCH GUILLOT, Director-General for Communication and Spokesperson of the European Parliament, moderated by Wolfram KAISER, Head of the Service of the European Parliament History Service.

Afterwards, the FMA’s Annual Cocktail Reception and Dinner followed which marked the end of an intense year of activities and programmes. The Vice-President of the European Parliament, Rainer WIELAND, attended and spoke on behalf of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta METSOLA: “We need to come back to a time where politicians are again actively participating in all aspects of their work (…). I thank the FMA for all the work they are doing in promoting European democracy.” Former and current MEPs were present, including the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Marc ANGEL. Closing the FMA’s Annual Dinner, President HÄNSCH fittingly promoted the FMA’s role and importance in promoting the 2024 European elections by reiterating that “first and foremost we need to keep the European Union of peoples and states together! We Former Members of the European Parliament stand ready to put our whole impact to do just that!

European Parliament Vice-President Rainer Wieland, Invited Guest Speaker at the FMA Annual Dinner

Former European Parliament President and FMA President Klaus Hänsch

On 7 December 2023, from 10.00 to 11.00, FMA Vice-President Monica BALDI, and EP to Campus coordinator and FMA Board Member Michael HINDLEY (editors) presented the FMA_HAEU Publication “Participation in Europe” during the Librorum event at European Parliament in Brussels. The book explores ways to enhance civic education and envision a European landscape where citizens are not just spectators but active architects of their democratic future. The publication is based on contributions of speakers and guests during the hybrid conference on 16 June 2023. The event was opened by FMA President Klaus HÄNSCH.

FMA Honorary Secretary Teresa RIERA MADURELL introduced the editors and emphasised that “according to the white paper on European governance ‘participation is crucial to achieve more democratic governance in the EU’. Dieter SCHLENKER, Director of the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) and Valentina RIBOLDI, Communication Unit Italian Erasmus+ National Agency – INDIRE, both made a short online intervention, before having moved on to the Q&A session with the audience in the room and connected online.

The event ended with the final remarks of the editors with FMA’s Vice-President Monica Baldi stated that “education is crucial! The book which was a common effort (…) shows that through dialogue, education and training we can truly achieve a better Europe!”

Dieter Schlenker, Director of the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) and the audience

FMA Vice-President Monica Baldi, and EP to Campus coordinator and FMA Board Member Michael Hindley

From 11.00 to 13.00 (Brussels’ time), the FMA held its Annual Seminar 2023 on ‘New technological transition: opportunities and challenges in the European Parliament, Brussels. Guest speakers Associate Professor of IT Law at the University of Tartu and Research Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance (EUI), Marta CANTERO, and CEO of the Customized Artificial Intelligence Solutions company Querlo, Francesco RULLI, delivered eye-opening and insightful speeches on the opportunities and challenges of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.

Marta CANTERO GAMITO unpacked the perceived “Trilemma of political governance” and stated that “we stand at the verge of a major transformation – the shift from human to machine decision-making. The democratization of generative AI tools (…) triggers the question of why do we expect more of machines/legislators than we do of ourselves?”

Marta Cantero Gamito,  Associate Professor of IT Law at the University of Tartu and Research Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance (EUI)

FMA Secretary Teresa RIERA MADURELL and FMA Board Member Paul RÜBIG

During his intervention, Francesco RULLI focused on the potential of AI and weighed the ethical considerations and potential pitfalls associated with integrating AI into democratic systems: “Artificial intelligence emerges as a pivotal force, capable of both aggravating problems and facilitating positive outcomes. It possesses the potential to amplify the spread of fake news or serve as a secure harbour for authentic information.”

Francesco Rulli, CEO of Querlo and Invited Guest speaker at the FMA Annual Seminar

Former MEP and FMA member Françoise Grossetête and FMA Treasurer Jean-Pierre Audy

FMA Secretary Teresa RIERA MADURELL moderated the Q&A session with the audience and FMA Board Member Paul RÜBIG drew the final conclusion of the Annual Seminar.

During the Q&A session, the members of the audience where particularly interested in the ethical considerations and problems of AI. FMA Board Member Dr Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL for example asked the panellists: “How can we guarantee, particularly in the context of academia, that students do not misuse the technology of AI to write their official reports or theses?” Similarly, Former European Parliament and Former FMA President Hans-Gert PÖTTERING inquired: “How can we ensure that the possibilities of AI are in line with data protection rules and are not misused as it might be the case in a totalitarian state like China?” Amongst the students that were present during the seminar, questions that came up focused on how to make sure that young people are educated enough on these new technologies and what their use might mean for a democratic system.

Please find the answers from the guests here the livestream.

FMA Board Member, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl

FMA Member, Hannes Swoboda

Later in the afternoon, the FMA Management Committee met to discuss the future projects of the FMA in 2024, in particular the visits organised by the FMA to Belgium and Hungary under the EU Presidency and the actions taken in view of the EU elections to invite outgoing MEPs to join the Association. The FMA visits facilitate and promote a pluralistic political dialogue with representatives of national parliaments and governments in order to assess the progress made in EU affairs.

About the FMA

The Former Members Association of the European Parliament (FMA) aims at availing of the experience and expertise of former MEPs. The FMA is involved in a wide range of activities including seminars, study visits, university lectures, democracy building, and the spreading of information about the European Parliament and the EU. Among others things, FMA members contribute to strengthening the co-operation with universities by participating pro-bono in the “EP to Campus” educational programme.

Press Contacts

Valerie Raskin, FMA Events and Communications Assistant


Tel. +32 (0)2 284 07 03 –

Social media: Follow us on X  and Facebook