European Movement International: Breakfast Club with André Gillissen
22 June European Movement International Breakfast Club
Pre-EU Summit private briefing with André Gillissen
With the European Council Summit taking place on 28 and 29 June, the European Movement International held a Pre-EU Summit Breakfast Club on the morning of Wednesday 22 June to discuss what will be on the EU leader’s agenda. We were privileged to have André Gillissen, Deputy Head of Cabinet of President Donald Tusk, as the guest speaker at the breakfast event where he shared some insight into the issues that face the EU members’ Heads of State in the upcoming June European Council Summit.
The morning kicked off with introductory remarks from the European Movement’s Secretary General, Petros Fassoulas, before Mr Gillissen briefly shared his views on the upcoming summit and other pressing issues that the Union as a whole was facing. The floor was then open to questions and comments from guests and the morning saw a fascinating discussion arise over the key challenges that the EU faces and how the Summit might address these.
— Noel Clehane (@NoelClehane) June 22, 2016
With the EU summit only a few days away, the subject of the UK Referendum on its EU membership was looming over the thoughts of all those in attendance. With the prospect of a leave vote very much a possibility, the issue of what path they would take and whether Article 50 would be invoked by the UK or the EU was debated. In addition it was remarked that a Brexit would see severe technicalities arise, such as the reduction and re-organisation of the EU budget. A topic widely commented upon was the rising disillusionment that many European citizens had of the EU and the source of this scepticism, from the role of national politicians to the EU institutions themselves.
Among the range of major issues facing the EU summit, the migration crisis facing the Union was heavily discussed. It was acknowledged that the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean had dropped significantly from a daily figure of thousands last October to mere dozens in recent days. This has contributed both to the deal that the EU agreed with Turkey, as well as the impact of closing borders between the Balkan states on making this route less promising. The discussion unfolded to incorporate the role played by EU aid, plans to establish partnerships between Member States and developing countries, and assistance for Libya in managing the flows of economic migrants.
— European Movement (@EMInternational) June 22, 2016
Further issues which were debated during the breakfast included the Financial Crisis that still challenged the bloc, particularly the negative equity bonds in specific states, and also the lasting question of Greece. Additionally, upcoming plans for the EU in relation to international trade and TTIP, as well as points on the agenda of the upcoming Slovak Presidency were touched upon.
The discussion covered a wide variety of topics and agendas, reflecting the often unpredictable political climate that the EU currently operates in. The discussion was brought full circle as the event concluded on remarks of how the institutions would be responding to the outcome of the British referendum when the final result is known early Friday morning on June 24.
This edition of the European Movement Breakfast Club was a fantastic success and saw a plethora of high profile guests in attendance. The European Movement International would like to extend our deepest thanks to all those who attended, our sponsors BDO, and of course Mr. André Gillissen.