Research Political Sciences

Catherine De Vries is the New Generali Endowed Chair in European Policies – Shaping Leadership in Europe

, by Andrea Costa
The Chair, supported by Assicurazioni Generali, will spearhead research on how to reform the EU's architecture in order to make it more adaptable to past and future challenges

By establishing a Chair aimed at improving EU effectiveness and accountability, Bocconi shows its commitment to strengthening research in European studies. This new Chair, the Generali Endowed Chair in European Policies – Shaping Leadership in Europe, assigned to Professor Catherine De Vries, will be inaugurated today at an event introduced by addresses from Bocconi Rector Francesco Billari and the Assicurazioni Generali Group General Manager Marco Sesana. The event will continue with a round table hosted by Tony Barber, European Editor of the Financial Times, with Simon Hix, Stein Rokkan Chair in Comparative Politics, European University Institute, Cecilia Malmström, former European Commissioner for Trade and Home Affairs and Nathalie Tocci, Director of Istituto Affari Internazionali.

"The insurance sector plays a strategic role for our economy, it intercepts and interprets the challenges of an evolving society", commented Marco Sesana. "For this reason Generali, for over twenty years alongside Bocconi University, today supports a new Chair in the area of European Policies, dedicated to one of the major current international issues, the EU and its architecture, fundamental to understand the next phase of the European construction process."

"Europe is at the core of Bocconi's thinking and action, which have always been directed towards producing impactful research leading in turn to the development of European institutions and an enhanced sense of citizenship," explains Francesco Billari. "The collaboration with Generali and the establishment of the chair held by Catherine De Vries, make us look at European leadership and how to strengthen it as it evolves."

The Chair will pay special attention in its research activities to increasing the EU's effectiveness and accountability by examining possible institutional and operational reforms, leadership models, and political dynamics involving the European Union.

More specifically, there will be three equally important areas of research. One is how to reform of the European Union in response to recent challenges, another is to explore the concept of leadership in the broader global context, considering aspects of accountability and democracy. The third focus will be on how the EU has been used as a scapegoat; by applying machine-learning techniques to speeches, manifestos and presence on social media of national politicians, researchers will discover how the EU is used strategically to avoid blame for unpopular facts. "A thorough rethinking of EU's institutional structure and the role that leadership plays within it has become unavoidable", says Catherine De Vries. "Rather than to wait for the next crisis and agree to last-minute shifts, we need to design and create a political mandate for EU reform now."

The partnership between Assicurazioni Generali and Bocconi dates back to 1996. The result of shared values and objectives, the relationship between the two entities has evolved over the years, culminating in 2017 with the establishment of the Generali Chair in Insurance and Risk Management, held by Stefano Rossi of the Department of Finance. This academic position allowed the University to increase its research activities in risk and insurance management. In 2023, Generali further strengthens its ties with Bocconi with the establishment of this new Chair in European Policies.