International Conference: “Capodistrias – Spinelli – Europe”

Sunday, 23rd November 2008 17.55 From Aegina Portal (translated) An international conference whose style and content provide a glimpse of the importance of the island and its history was held in Aegina, with proceedings opening yesterday Saturday at the Hotel Danae. The international conference took place in the context of the celebration of the 180th anniversary of the swearing-in of Ioannis Capodistrias and forms part of the commemorative celebrations programmed for this year by the Municipality of Aegina. The promotion of the Capodistrias – Spinelli activities in relation to the European integration project began to be promoted approximately two years ago by Mr. Wayne Hall, both from within an informal group around the subject in question, and through the exchange of relevant correspondence and personal contacts with the Municipality of Aegina and other groups on the island with the potential for involvement. Yesterday’s conference emerged from an initiative by Messrs. Alexis Krauss and Wayne Hall, implemented by the Association of Active Citizens under the auspices of the Municipality of Aegina. The potential of this international conference was obvious from the moment it was announced, i.e. that it could significantly strengthen promotion of the content of Ioannis Capodistrias’ politics, which – … Continue reading

European Union: Disintegration or a New Beginning?


An exceptionally successful function was held on 23rd June in the forecourt of the Church of the Saviour in the Capodistrian Orphanage in Aegina. Entitled “Capodistrias – Spinelli today – European Union: Disintegration or a New Beginning”, it was organized by the Aegina Association of Active Citizens with the support of the Municipality of Aegina, providing continuity with past initiatives.

In this moving, historic and captivating milieu in Aegina town, a large audience listened attentively, for two-and-a-half hours, to presentations from Messrs. Panagiotis Paspaliaris, Andreas Koukos and Giulietto Chiesa, then contributing observations and comments and asking questions. The mayor of Aegina, S. Sakkiotis, greeted the meeting, emphasizing the special contribution of the Association of Active Citizens to publicizing the Capodistrian heritage of Aegina, modern Greece’s first capital. He announced that there had been a stepping up of the efforts by the Municipality and the Greek government to promote the maintenance and utilization of our island’s Capodistrian buildings, with the relevant works about to get under way shortly, starting with the Kyverneio, for which tenders have already been called.

Opening the function, Mr. Wayne Hall, the key organizer, referred to previous functions of the Aegina Association of Active Citizens under the same title from 2008 onwards, for the purpose of renewing the references to the pioneering and indeed titanic work of Ioannis Capodistrias in Aegina, in Greece but above all in Europe, linking it to that of the architect of the European Union’s first Constitution, Altiero Spinelli.

Subsequently the historian and writer Panagiotis Paspaliaris gave a brilliant presentation of the creative diplomatic achievements of Ioannis Capodistrias as a functionary, and later Foreign Minister, of Russia before, during and after the 1814 Congress of Vienna, marking the end of the Napoleonic Era and the beginning of reorganization of the European continent. He emphasized, among other things, the lean, uncluttered reforming presence of Capodistrias and its contrast with the wasteful, opulent and scandal-ridden presence of the crowned heads of state and their staff whose aim was to restore the old balance of power over the heads of the peoples of Europe. As he said, an examination of the activity of Greece’s first governor leads to the conclusion that he was the most important reforming diplomat promoting democratic principles throughout the European continent. Capodistrias later put the experience and the connections he acquired at that time in the service of the vision for which he was finally to give his life: the emergence of the Modern Greek State.

The journalist and former European parliamentarian Giulietto Chiesa then developed a powerful problematic concerning today’s crisis in Europe, and particularly in the countries of the South, thanking the Association of Active Citizens for giving him the opportunity to become acquainted with Capodistrias and his activity in Europe, foreshadowing Spinelli’s later work in constructing the foundations of the European Union. He stressed how Europe’s democratic deficit is continually widening, highlighting the dominant, and corrosive, role of the world of finance, and particularly the banks, including the European Central Bank, which is a private institution, in undermining European democracy. He made the observation that today’s crisis of the euro is in fact a crisis of the dollar, a consequence of the sub-primes crisis. He proposed a strengthening of democratic institutions in the European Union and specifically the nationalization of the banks of European Union member states and of the European Central Bank (ECB).

He referred to the case of one trillion euros being made available to European banks by the ECB at 1% interest, capital which the banks use for providing loans to southern European countries at 4% interest, reaping significant profit for themselves.

Summarizing the content of the two previous speakers’ addresses, Andreas Koukos, historian, professor at the Military School and President of the Society for the Study of the Work of Ioannis Capodistrias, mentioned his numerous visits to Aegina in recent years to take part in functions, primarily of the Active Citizens and of the Municipality, for study and transmission of the work the Governor, highlighting Capodistrias’ pioneering role in Europe. He referred to the specific allusion to Capodistrias made by Henry Kissinger in his writings, describing him as Europe’s constitutional referee. He also announced the forthcoming publication by the society of which he is president of important new archival sources on Capodistrias in a number of European countries. Emphasizing the importance of historical archival research and of the archives themselves, A. Koukos reminded the audience of the unique value of the small local Capodistrian archive of Aegina, Greece’s first state archive, and the need to maintain its accessibility.

In the protracted and intense discussion that followed there was much airing of citizens’ profound concern and anxiety in the face of the long-term structural crisis through which we are living and there was a call for the drawing-up of an Aegina declaration for democratization of the European Union in the spirit of Ioannis Capodistrias and Altiero Spinelli. A proposal by the Association of Active Citizens is under discussion with the Municipality for European recognition of the work of Capodistrias and indeed the naming of an official building in Brussels as a tribute to the Governor.

Alexis Krauss

More information on the speakers

Καποδίστριας – Σπινέλλι Σήμερα

Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση: Διάλυση ή επανεκκίνηση; Με εξαιρετική επιτυχία πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 23 Ιουνίου στο προαύλιο του Ναού του Σωτήρος του Καποδιστριακού Ορφανοτροφείου η εκδήλωση με τίτλο, «Καποδίστριας – Σπινέλλι, Σήμερα: Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση: Διάλυση η επανεκκινηση ;» που διοργάνωσαν οι Ενεργοί Πολίτες της Αίγινας, με την υποστήριξη του Δήμου, δίνοντας συνέχεια στις σχετικές προηγούμενες πρωτοβουλίες. Σε αυτό τον συγκινητικό, ιστορικό και μαγευτικό συνάμα χώρο της πόλης της Αίγινας, ένα πολυάριθμο κοινό άκουσε με μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον, για δυόμιση ώρες, τις εισηγήσεις των κυριων Παναγιώτη Πασπαλιαρη, Ανδρέα Κουκο και Giulietto Chiesa και στην συνέχεια έκανε παρατηρήσεις, ερωτήσεις και σχόλια. Ο δήμαρχος της Αίγινας Σ. Σακκιώτης χαιρέτισε τη εκδήλωση τονίζοντας την ιδιαίτερη προσφορά των “Ενεργών Πολιτών στην προβολή της καποδιστριακής κληρονομίας της Αίγινας ως Πρώτης Πρωτεύουσας. Ανήγγειλε δε την εγρήγορση του Δήμου και της Πολιτείας για την προώθηση της συντήρησης και αξιοποίησης των καποδιστριακών κτηρίων του νησιού μας όπου σύντομα θα αρχίσουν τα σχετικά έργα, αρχής γενομένης από το Κυβερνείο το οποίο έχει ήδη δημοπρατηθεί. . Ανοίγοντας την εκδήλωση, ο κύριος Wayne Hall, ως βασικός συντελεστής, αναφέρθηκε στις προηγούμενες εκδηλώσεις των Ενεργών Πολιτών με τον ίδιο τίτλο στην Αίγινα από το 2008 που είχαν σκοπό να ανανεώσουν τις αναφορές στο πρωτοποριακό και τιτάνιο έργο του … Continue reading