Dimitris Dimitriadis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the impact of globalization on Europe’s employment, investment and innovation and how the European Union is meeting these challenges. The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives from Europe’s economic, social and academic sectors a formal platform to express their views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to institutions including the European Council, European Commission, and European Parliament. Dr. Philip Levy, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and trade advisor to the McCain Campaign, presented the U.S. perspective on the effects of trade and globalization on employment and innovation.
Named to his current position three months ago, The Honorable Diego López Garrido, Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, plays a key role in setting the agenda for Spain’s upcoming Presidency of the European Council and will steer the Presidency during its term in the first semester of 2010. Mr. Garrido offered his perspective on Spain’s plans for the Presidency and assessed the current challenges and opportunities facing the EU, including two current top priorities of particular resonance for Spain: immigration and the Union for the Mediterranean.
In his first public remarks since the Irish rejected the Treaty of Lisbon, His Excellency John Bruton, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the US, offered a rich and insightful assessment of the historic vote and its implications for Ireland and the European Union. Expressing his personal views, the former Prime Minister of Ireland contended that the impermeability of the treaty itself, concern about loss of sovereignty, and the absence of belief in distinctly European values led voters in Ireland to vote No.
This meeting was organized around a provocative new study entitled, Bargaining Power in the European Council, which closely examines the power matrices within the Council and provides rare insights into what it judges to be “in general, a hostile environment for small and medium-sized countries.” The author of this report, Jonas Tallberg, Associate Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University and Visiting Scholar at Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University, presented his findings, and assessed the impact of the Reform Treaty on the sources of bargaining power within the Council. Søren Jensen, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Royal Danish Embassy, commented from the standpoint of a small Northern member of the EU. William Lucas, Director, Office of EU and Regional Affairs at the Department of State offered his perspective on the workings of the European Council and its role and impact on U.S.-EU relations. Mats Hellström, Chairman of the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies and former Minister of Foreign Trade of Sweden, discussed the increasing political, strategic and economic role of the Baltic Sea Region and the implications of this notable evolution for Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship.
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