ELI Decennial Celebration: Europe‘s Legal Community Celebrated 10 Years of ELI’s Contribution


On 1 June 2021, leading legal experts from Europe and beyond gathered to celebrate a decade of the ELI’s contribution to the development and improvement of the law. The event gave room to reflect on ELI’s achievements and discuss the Institute’s future.

The Decennial Celebration was opened by Christiane Wendehorst (ELI President), and Reinhard Zimmermann (Speaker of the ELI Senate), who reflected on the making of ELI from its humble beginnings with 52 Founding Members to its current ever growing Membership of over 1.600 Individual and Institutional Members. Lance Liebman (former Director of the American Law Institute (ALI)), reminisced about guiding ELI to its establishment and the good working relationship of the ALI and ELI ever since. Please read more about the introduction and welcoming addresses here.

After the opening, attendees heard from Věra Jourová (Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency), who emphasised the importance of the rule of law, shared values, and fundamental rights in democracies. You can read more about the keynote speech here.

The following first panel discussion focused on current challenges – from the digital revolution to climate change to political polarisation – for institutions and civil society. Koen Lenaerts (President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)), Robert Spano (President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)), Didier Reynders (European Commissioner for Justice), Adrián Vázquez Lázara (Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)), and Margarete von Galen (President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)) each presented their point of view and discussed questions from the attendees in a Q&A session. You can read more about the panel discussion on ‘Facing the Current Challenges in Europe – the Role of the Institutions and Civil Society’ here.

The second panel was a platform to discuss ELI’s history and ideas for strengthening ELI’s position and increasing its activities. This panel welcomed some of the faces and stakeholders behind ELI, including Heinz W Engl (Rector, University of Vienna), Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson (Judge, French Council of State, Conseil d’Etat), Irmgard Griss (Professor of the University of Graz; former President of the Austrian Supreme Court, 2007–2011), Anna Joubin-Bret (Secretary, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)), and Ádám Tóth (President, Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE)), and allowed attendees to hear from them on establishing ELI, goals achieved, and potential future endeavors as well as to engage in discussions in a subsequent Q&A session. Please find more detailed information on the panel discussion on ‘Faces and Stakeholders behind ELI – Looking Ahead’ here.

ELI would like to thank all speakers and attendees for joining this Decennial Celebration. Gratitude is also due to the supporters of the ELI Decennial Celebration: The University of Vienna, the Commission Representation in Austria, the European Union, and the European Union Youth Orchestra. Lastly, ELI would like to express its thanks to all the Members who were and are working towards ELI’s success.