Past events at IEE-ULB – Autumn 2014

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“Swiss-EU Relations: State of Play and Perspectives”
15 October 2014

On October the 15th, 2014, the Institute for European Studies had the honnour to welcome the Swiss Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yves Rossier, to discuss the current and future state of the Swiss-EU Relations.

The European Union (EU) is Switzerland’s principle trade partner and Switzerland is one of the EU’s 4 main partners. The total value of trade in goods and services equals more than 1,5 billion Euros per working day. Human relations are intense as 1,2 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and 1,3 million persons cross the common borders every day. It is in this interdependency context that the EU and Switzerland are held to define the contours of the respective futures.

This privileged relationship is however confronted with a period of uncertainty: on February 9th 2014, the Swiss citizens endorsed a referendum “against mass immigration”. Its objective consists in allowing Switzerland to autonomously manage its immigration. Following this decision, on July 4th 2014, Switzerland requested the EU to re-negotiate its Agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP). The EU High Representative, Ms. Catherine Ashton, officially rejected this request on July 25th 2014.

On the one hand; for Brussels, the introduction of quantitative limits and quotas, including the national preference in favour of Swiss residents, is fundamentally incompatible with the principles of the AFMP. On the other; Berne is confronted with the democratic imperative of having to respect its citizens’ will. This contradiction has come to weigh on both the EU-Swiss partnership as a whole, as well as on the institutional negotiations launched in May 2014 aimed at reinvigorate the bilateral relationship. Defining the means to overcome it is an essential question, which the new EU Commission and the Swiss government are called upon to answer.

In this context, better grasping and understanding the Euro-Swiss relationship constitutes a thrilling opportunity. Bearing this in mind, the Mission of Switzerland to the EU and the Presidency of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) decided to partner up and to charge the Institut d’Etudes Européennes of the ULB with the organisation of the series of events “A surprising Switzerland for Tomorrow’s Europe”.

Read more here.

International Conference – “The EU-US Approaches to Counter Terrorism” – 14 October 2014

On October 14th, 2014 the Institute for European Studies had the pleasure to welcome Mr. John B. Bellinger, former Adviser of the US National Security Council and former Legal Adviser to the US State Department during the George W. Bush presidency.

Mr. J. Bellinger delivered a speech on his experience as a former official of the US government regarding counter terrorism and about his experience while collaborating with the various European and EU counter terrorism officials. He addressed as well his view on the current terrorism challenges that are facing both the EU and the US.

An interesting debate, preceded by the analysis of both Mrs. Christiane Höhn, Adviser to the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator (European Council) and Prof. Pierre Klein (ULB); took place among the three speakers and the public.

“Imbalances & Inequalities in the EU: Challenges to the Europe 2020 Strategy”
10 October 2014

Conference by EU Commissioner Laszlo Andor for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion – 10 October 2014.

On October 10th, 2014, the Institute for European Studies of the Université libre de Bruxelles had the pleasure to welcome Commissioner Laszlo Andor to benefit from his in depth insight on the various EU member states economies, especially in the matters of Employment, Competitiveness and Social Affairs. At this occasion, he expressed as well his views and thoughts about the challenges that are facing the European Union in the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
An interesting debate then took place between Commissioner Andor, Prof. André Sapir (ULB) and Andrea Garnero (ULB-Dulbea – Ecole d’Economie de Paris).