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THE STATE OF EUROPE 2015 – Addressing Europe’s Crises: Policy Crossroads

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The ‘State of Europe’ high-level roundtable ‘Addressing Europe’s Crises – Policy Crossroads’ offered a unique opportunity for a large-scale brainstorm by EU Commissioners, MEPs and MPs, ministers, opinion-formers, civil society and business leaders.

The event took place in Brussels on Thursday 22 October and was held under the patronage of the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU. This event also marked the end of Friends of Europe’s 15th anniversary year.

This year’s edition looked at Europe’s many challenges, including the repercussions of the refugee crisis and the uncomfortable light it shed on the Europe of the 21st Century. In addition to dealing with the fall-out of war and poverty on Europe’s borders, the European Union must urgently implement a crash “emergency” programme of Europe-wide actions. This must address the critical need to move from austerity to sustainable growth-focused and job-creating policies, boost innovation to make Europe more competitive, and help meet citizens’ concerns on health as well as social and economic inequalities. Europe’s credibility is also at stake in its dealings with Ukraine, and in questions linked to global security and climate change.

Over 200 Ministers, senior policymakers, business leaders and top academics from all over Europe and beyond discussed these challenges outside their formal portfolios in order to help generate innovative solutions.

The press release from the event’s opening session with Frans Timmermans can be found here, and that from the day’s subsequent proceedings here.

A photo gallery and videos from State of Europe 2015 are available below. You may follow discussions from the sessions on Twitter using #StateofEU.

Photo gallery

Should you not be able to see the gallery, please click here.

Videos

09.00 – 11.00 OPENING PLENARY SESSION – Sickly Europe: Diagnosis and cure

11.30 – 13.00 PARALLEL SESSION – Future Europe – Regaining public trust in the European Union

11.30 – 13.00 PARALLEL SESSION – Global / Greener Europe – Recovering Europe’s global influence

14.00 – 15.25 PARALLEL SESSION Smarter Europe – Catching up with the ‘Digital Era’

14.00 – 15.25 PARALLEL SESSION Quality Europe – Building a caring Europe

15.55 – 17.20 PARALLEL SESSION Security Europe – Making Europe’s neighbourhood safe again

15.55 – 17.20 PARALLEL SESSION Smarter / Greener Europe – Defining Europe’s infrastructural challenges

17.45 – 19.00 CLOSING PLENARY SESSION – Mood music for a brighter future

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / FLICKR – Thomas Guignard

Programme

08.30 – 09.00 Registration

09.00 – 11.00 OPENING PLENARY SESSION – Sickly Europe: Diagnosis and cure

Is the European project unravelling, and if so how can it be knit back together again? The strains being placed on solidarity between European Union as well as eurozone members are a threat both to the single currency and to the hallowed principle of free movement of Europe’s peoples. Due to the combination of the Grexit and refugee crises, the gulf between advocates of ‘more Europe’ and ‘less Europe’ widened dramatically this year, raising stark questions about the viability of the EU in its present form. What is a realistic diagnosis of Europe’s ills, and what should be the prognosis?

Chair:

Etienne Davignon / President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former Vice President of the European Commission

Moderators:

Shada Islam / Director of Policy at Friends of Europe

Giles Merritt / Secretary General of Friends of Europe

Introductory remarks:

Kensika Monshengwo / Former Director of the Irish National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism

A conversation with:

Frans Timmermans / First Vice President of the European Commission (until 10.15)

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00 PARALLEL SESSIONS

Should the EU’s chief domestic policy thrust be:

  • Countering rising populism by creating a 21st Century ‘new narrative’ for the EU?
  • Addressing the widening North-South rift in the EU now being exacerbated by the Eurozone crisis and go-it alone taxation policies?
  • Tackling the widening social inequalities?

Chairs:

Monica Frassoni / Co-Chair of the European Green Party

Antonia Meszaros / Hungary’s ATV journalist and European Young Leader

Introductory discussants:

Zoe Konstantopoulou / Former Syriza President of the Hellenic Parliament

Hélène Rey / Professor of Economics at London Business School and Recipient of the Yrjö Jahnsson Award in Economics

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In this ‘Asian century’, should the EU’s international priority be:

  • Setting an international agenda for global governance reform that answers the concerns of emerging powers and least-developed countries?
  • Re-establishing Europe’s leadership on climate change and sustainable development?
  • Up-dating trade and development links with key Asian, African and Latin American nations?

Chairs:

Franziska Brantner / Member of the Deutscher Bundestag

Pascal Lamy / Former Director General of the World Trade Organization and former EU Commissioner

Introductory discussants:

Assia Bensalah Alaoui / Ambassador at Large of HM Mohamed VI the King of Morocco

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu / CEO of Solvay

Christian Leffler / Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

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13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 15.25 PARALLEL SESSIONS

Is the best way to close the innovation gap with global competitors:

  • By re-doubling existing EU-led stimuli like funding cross-border R&D?
  • Through a wider long-term strategy spanning education to entrepreneurism?
  • By ‘backing winners’ with subsidies and tax breaks at national and EU levels?

Chairs:

Toomas Hendrik Ilves / Estonian President

Wouter Verschelden / Founder and Publisher at NewsMonkey and European Young Leader

Introductory discussants:

France Cordova / Director of the US National Science Foundation and former NASA Chief Scientist

Marietje Schaake MEP / Member of the European Parliament and Commissioner for the Global Commission on Internet Governance

Amit Sood / Head of the Google Cultural Institute

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To address its deepening social challenges, should Europe:

  • Lay much greater emphasis on demographic changes and long-term labour shortages, even if that highlights immigration issues?
  • Fashion an EU ‘Master Plan’, however controversial that might be, to address the skills gaps and wider educational shortcomings now handicapping the European economy?
  • Invest political capital as well as resources in an ambitious new EU-wide strategy for narrowing societal and healthcare inequalities within and between EU countries?

Chairs:

Sylvie Goulard MEP / President of the European Parliament Intergroup on Extreme Poverty

Nina Rawal / Investment Manager at the Swedish Industrial Development Fund, European Young Leader and Women’s Forum “Rising Talent”

Introductory discussants:

Jim Clarken / Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam Ireland

David Khougazian / President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Nicolas Schmit / Luxembourg Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy

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15.25 – 15.55 Coffee break

15.55 – 17.20 PARALLEL SESSIONS

For the EU to stabilise the refugee crisis and get the ‘security genie’ back in its bottle, should it:

  • Define more clearly the EU’s global and regional priorities in its new EU Global Strategy?
  • Focus on getting the balance right between “soft power” and “hard power”?
  • Tackle the security implications of weak integration policies which lead to marginalisation and – sometimes – of radicalisation of migrant communities?

Chairs:

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer / President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs and former NATO Secretary General

Mary Fitzgerald / Journalist, contributing author of ‘The Libyan Revolution and its aftermath’ and European Young Leader

Introductory discussants:

Saliha Ben Ali / Founder of Society Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) Belgium

Ian Buruma / Author of ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy of Three Continents’

Stefano Manservisi / Head of Cabinet of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of Federica Mogherini

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Faced with global climate change, its own deepening energy crisis and low growth, should the EU:

  • Press ahead with the €315bn ‘Juncker Plan’, and perhaps expand it to make it a truly ambitious ‘New Deal’ comparable to FDR’s in the 1930s?
  • Identify energy as the most important infrastructure gap of all and define priorities and timetables in an ‘Energy Union’ blueprint?
  • Further develop ‘green growth’ as key to the EU’s economic future?

Chairs:

André Loesekrug-Pietri / Founder and Managing Partner of A CAPITAL and European Young Leader

Giles Merritt / Secretary General of Friends of Europe

Introductory discussants:

Ambroise Fayolle / Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

Jan Mischke / McKinsey Global Institute Senior Fellow and European Research Leader and co-author of the report ‘A window of opportunity for Europe’

17.20 – 17.45 Coffee break

17.45 – 19.00 CLOSING PLENARY SESSION – Mood music for a brighter future

The King, the Rock Star, the Viscount, the Comedian, the Prime Minister and the Young Leader

Chairs:

Geert Cami / Co-Founder & Director at Friends of Europe

Giovanna Pancheri / Brussels Correspondent at Sky TG 24 and European Young Leader

With:

Etienne Davignon / President of Friends of EuropeBelgian Minister of State and former Vice President of the European Commission

Shazia Mirza / Award Winning British Stand Up Comedian and Writer

Mario Monti / Former Italian Prime Minister

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke / Founder and President of Women’s WorldWide Web and European Young Leader

Henry Padovani / Musician, first guitarist of rock group The Police

In presence of His Majesty the King of the Belgians

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Every year State of Europe welcomes a prominent list of high-level discussants.

In presence of His Majesty the King of the Belgians, this year’s list includes:

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik IlvesAmit Sood, Head of the Google Cultural Institute; former Prime Minister Mario MontiFrans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission; Franziska Brantner, Member of the Deutscher Bundestag; Zoe Konstantopoulou, Former Syriza President of the Hellenic Parliament; Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay; Mary Fitzgerald, Journalist, contributing author of ‘The Libyan Revolution and its aftermath’ and European Young Leader; Members of the European Parliament including Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Sylvie GoulardMarietje SchaakeTanja Fajon, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Afzal Khan and Jo LeinenDavid Khougazian, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur MSD; Pascal Lamy, Former Director General of the World Trade Organization and former EU Commissioner; André Loesekrug-Pietri, Founder and Managing Partner of A CAPITAL; Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Antonia Meszaros, Hungary’s ATV journalist; Hélène Rey, Professor of Economics at London Business School and Recipient of the Yrjö Jahnsson Award in Economics; Nina Rawal, Investment Manager at the Swedish Industrial Development Fund, European Young Leader and Women’s Forum “Rising Talent”; Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs and former NATO Secretary General; Cihan Sultanoglu, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Michael Diedring, Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE); Maria Stratigaki, Athens Vice Mayor for Social Solidarity, Welfare and Equality; Saida Ounissi, Member of the Tunisian Parliament; Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Europe; Johannes Meier, CEO of the European Climate Foundation; Dawood Azami, Presenter and Chief International Correspondent at BBC World Service; Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Irene Tinagli, Member of the Italian Parliament; Dionysia Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Chair of the Circle of the Mediterranean Parliamentarians on Sustainable Development (COMPSUD); France Cordova, Former NASA Chief Scientist and Director of the US National Science Foundation; Monica Frassoni, Co-Chair of the European Green Party; Pavel Telička, Vice President of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE); László Andor, Former EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion; Eamon Ryan, Green Party Leader and former Irish Minister for Communications; Jim Clarken, Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam Ireland; Alberto Alemanno, Public interest lawyer, civic advocate and founder of eLab Europe; Nuria Chinchilla Albiol, Professor at IESE Business School, University of Navarra; Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC); Erik Berglöf, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science; Jakub Landovsky, Czech Deputy Minister, Head of the Defence Policy and Strategy Division; Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy; Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General; Farid Tabarki, Founder and Director of the Studio Zeitgeist Gerosa and European Young Leader; and Jutta Urpilainen, Member of the Finnish Parliament.

Speakers

  • Saliha Ben Ali

    Founder of Society Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) Belgium

  • Assia Bensalah Alaoui

    Ambassador at Large of HM Mohamed VI the King of Morocco

  • Franziska Brantner

    Member of the German Bundestag, and Member of the European Parliament (2009-2013)

  • Ian Buruma

    Author of ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy of Three Continents’

  • Jean-Pierre Clamadieu

    Chief Executive Officer of Solvay

  • Jim Clarken

    Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam Ireland

  • France Cordova

    Director of the US National Science Foundation and former NASA Chief Scientist

  • Etienne Davignon

    President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former Vice President of the European Commission

  • Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

    President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs and former NATO Secretary General

  • Ambroise Fayolle

    Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

  • Mary Fitzgerald

    Journalist, contributing author of ‘The Libyan Revolution and its aftermath’ and European Young Leader

  • Monica Frassoni

    Co-President of the European Green Party and a Trustee of Friends of Europe

  • Sylvie Goulard MEP

    President of the European Parliament Intergroup on Extreme Poverty

  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves

    Estonian President

  • David Khougazian

    President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur MSD

  • Zoe Konstantopoulou

    Former Syriza President of the Hellenic Parliament

  • Pascal Lamy

    Former Director General of the World Trade Organization and former EU Commissioner

  • Christian Leffler

    Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

  • André Loesekrug-Pietri

    Founder and Managing Partner of A CAPITAL and European Young Leader

  • Stefano Manservisi

    Head of Cabinet of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of Federica Mogherini

  • Antonia Meszaros

    Hungary’s ATV journalist and European Young Leader

  • Shazia Mirza

    Award Winning British Stand Up Comedian and Writer

  • Jan Mischke

    McKinsey Global Institute Senior Fellow and European Research Leader and co-author of the report ‘A window of opportunity for Europe’

  • Kensika Monshengwo

    Former Director of the Irish National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism

  • Mario Monti

    Former Italian Prime Minister

  • Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

    Founder and President of Women’s WorldWide Web and European Young Leader

  • Henry Padovani

    Musician, first guitarist of rock group The Police

  • Giovanna Pancheri

    Brussels Correspondent at Sky TG 24 and European Young Leader

  • Nina Rawal

    Investment Manager at the Swedish Industrial Development Fund, European Young Leader and Women’s Forum “Rising Talent”

  • Hélène Rey

    Professor of Economics at London Business School and Recipient of the Yrjö Jahnsson Award in Economics

  • Marietje Schaake MEP

    Member of the European Parliament and Commissioner for the Global Commission on Internet Governance

  • Nicolas Schmit

    Luxembourg Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy

  • Amit Sood

    Head of the Google Cultural Institute

  • Frans Timmermans

    First Vice President of the European Commission

  • Wouter Verschelden

    Founder and Publisher at NewsMonkey and European Young Leader

Partners

Co-organised by

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With the support of

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