Präsident Simon Rijsdijk opens the EVS Congress 2022 in Bratislava

Präsident Simon Rijsdijk

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,

I wish you all a warm welcome to the 20th EVS Congress.

“We can go again”…

Over the past few months I have heard this many times in the context of all kinds of activities, pursuits, events and things to do. Like a sigh of relief. Glad we can live as we were used to.

And yes, we are allowed again: we are finally together again in beautiful Bratislava.

I was looking forward to meeting, talking, laughing, sharing our stories, informing each other and having real eye contact again.

I feel like we are even closer together now than we were a few years ago.

The corona crisis has left its mark. For a few years we seemed cut off from each other and there was at most contact via screens, where real eye contact is not an issue.

At the end of last year we all crawled out of the misery of the corona crisis and now there is the terrible situation with Ukraine… At the moment six and a half million refugees have fled to other countries and, according to the latest estimate, two million people have fled displaced in Ukraine: they have lost everything. Will it never stop?!

My argument is that it has brought us closer than ever in the European Union. I feel that here at our EVS too. We are more united than ever. Strong together to help our residents in Europe from our profession.

I’m not a federalist. I am convinced that the strength of Europe also lies in the diversity and wealth of different cultures, art, cities. That is what makes Europe so beautiful. But we make sure that our residents can easily arrange their affairs within Europe. Whether it concerns birth registration, name right, family law or marriage. This requires proper comparison of law and easy exchange of personal data, also for and by citizens themselves. The EU project Identities On The Move, in which the EVS also participates, also wants to contribute to this. You will hear more about this during this conference.

In all of this it is very important that we meet, get to know each other. That too is in the interest of citizens in all countries. Thanks to the EVS, you get to know colleagues in the different countries. This means that you can make contact with each other more quickly and easily if you have a specific problem in the field of international private law. By calling your colleague in the country of the citizen you want to help, a solution can often be found quickly.

The corona time has undeniably had a flywheel effect on the deployment and use of digital resources. At the same time, the need for human contact has also made itself felt. The benefits of both are incorporated in what we have come to call ‘hybrid’ working and consultation in popular parlance. Consciously opting for one time digitally and the next time physically or your workplace alternately at the employer or at home.

In his novel ‘The Circle’, Dave Eggers describes the emergence of a world in which everyone and everything is digitally connected. Everyone has only one online identity worldwide and all information from and about everyone is transparent and public. Doubt, fear and uncertainty about the grip on your own life is increasing page by page. You expect that in the last chapter many things that made this possible will be stopped. But no, Dave Eggers leaves us in the dark and makes us feel exactly the reality of now. Digitization and technological developments just keep rolling, we don’t know and we try to find our way as best we can. But we won’t stop it.

When we talk to each other about today’s reality, aspects quickly come along that together make the balance on the scale. Because yes, we have to continue with a lot of energy with digitization and all the joys that it brings us. And yes, at the same time, the human dimension, that everyone must be able to participate in society, hostmanship, also demands the highest priority. Just like privacy. And digital security. One colleague puts the emphasis and priority on one thing, the other colleague on another. However, everything that is going on is of the utmost importance. It is important to ensure that the various developments are in balance and receive the same attention at the same time. At the same time, one strengthens and can support the other.

We can again…

Being present here feels like a warm bath to me. Especially now that we feel even more connected under the current circumstances.

I am convinced that the program will give us a lot of baggage these days to find our way in our profession through the issues, dilemmas, fantasies, thought struggles, positions and standpoints in the current era.

Dear colleagues from our Slovak sister association, thank you for the great organization of this congress in the beautiful city of Bratislava! Thanks!

iVáženíkolegovia z nášhoslovenskéhosesterskéhozdruženia, ďakujeme za skvelúorganizáciutohtokongresu v krásnommeste Bratislava! Vďaka!


Vazjenie kollegovia znazio Slovenskeho sesterskejo druzjneja, djakoejemee zjaskwejoe organiezatsiejoe dochto kongressoe f krasjnom mestee Bratislava! Vdjaka!

Simon neuriet: Alle Menschen werden Brüder….

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