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.

The Irish “no” to the European Union’s modernization blueprint has fueled a new round of skeptical American commentary about Europeans’ real ambitions. “In Europe, a Slide Toward Irrelevance” was the title of an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Robert Kagan, a foreign-policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain. “The danger of this latest blow to European confidence is that our allies, including Britain, could gradually sink into global irrelevance,” Kagan wrote.

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Parliament’s Marek Siwiec does Q&A with European Affairs

Marek Siwiec, 53, is a Polish politician who is a vice-president of the European Parliament, where he belongs to the European Socialists faction.

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