22.02.24 | The Single Market, a cornerstone of the EU’s achievements, was established three decades ago and has significantly contributed to economic, political, and social integration, fostering prosperity for EU citizens. Despite its initial success, attempts to deepen the Single Market have faced obstacles over the past decade. The EU has yet to devise a comprehensive program to enhance integration, facilitate the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, and foster fair competition among EU companies. Against a backdrop of crises, climate change, technological innovation, and global volatility, there is an urgent need to rejuvenate European integration.

This half-day event organised with European Round Table for Industry (ERT) Autoworld featured key speakers such as Belgium’s Minister of Foreign affairs, European affairs and Foreign trade, Hadja Lahbib, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and discussions on critical topics, including a Digital Single Market for tech and innovation and a Single Energy Market to support the Green Deal. Renowned figures, including Enrico Letta, High-Level Rapporteur on the “Future of the Single Market” and former Prime Minister of Italy, Pascal Lamy, and Guy Verhofstadt, Member of European Parliament and President of European Movement International, reflected on Jacques Delors’ legacy and provided insights into the “Future of the Single Market” report. The agenda included engaging panels on semiconductor innovation, industrial policies, health tech adoption, and energy market integration, aiming to address current challenges and chart a course for the future of the Single Market. The sessions were moderated by Jennifer Baker, journalist.


10:15 - 10:45

Welcome and registrations

10:45 - 11:10

Opening remarks

Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Federal Cultural Institutions, Belgium

11:10 - 12:00

Keynote and Fireside Chat

Keynote from European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager followed by a Fireside chat with EVP Magrethe Vestager and Jean-François van Boxmeer, ERT Chair and Chair of Vodafone Group

12:00 - 13:00

Panel discussion – A Digital Single Market for a vibrant European tech & innovation scene

  • Renate Nikolay, Deputy Director General, DG Connect, European Commission
  • Georg Riekeles, Associate Director and Head of Europe’s Political Economy programme, European Policy Centre
  • Marc Vancoppenolle, Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs Europe, Nokia
More speakers to be announced.

13:00 - 14:00

Walking lunch

14:00 - 15:00

Panel discussion – A Single Energy Market as a vital lever to achieve the Green Deal

  • Stefano Grassi, Head of Cabinet to Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson
  • Alexandre Affre, Deputy Director General, BusinessEurope
  • Ilham Kadri, CEO of Syensqo
  • Valeria Ronzitti, Secretary General of SGI Europe, Vice-President of the European Movement International

15:00 - 16:00

Jacques Delors Legacy as Inspiration for the “Future of the Single Market” Report

  • Enrico Letta, High-Level Rapporteur on the “Future of the Single Market” and former Prime Minister of Italy
  • Pascal Lamy, Former European Commissioner for Trade
  • Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the European Parliament and President of European Movement International
  • Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul, Deputy Head of Unit Citizens’ Dialogue, European Commission, former Secretary General of the Institut Jacques Delors

16:00 - 17:00

Closing remarks & networking cocktail


Hadja Lahbib

Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade, and the Federal Cultural Institutions, Belgium

Margrethe Vestager

Executive Vice President, European Commission

Enrico Letta

High-Level Rapporteur on the “Future of the Single Market” and former Prime Minister of Italy

Renate Nikolay

Deputy Director General, DG Connect, European Commission

Guy Verhofstadt

Member of European Parliament, President of EMI

Guy Verhofstadt, born on April 11, 1953, in Dendermonde, Belgium, is a prominent Belgian politician and statesman. After completing his education in Classics and Law, he began his career in public service.

Verhofstadt held various positions within the Party for Freedom and Progress (PVV), including National President and Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. He later served as Prime Minister of Belgium from July 1999 to March 2008.

Transitioning to European politics, Verhofstadt became President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) from 2009 to 2019. He has been a Member of the European Parliament since July 2009, advocating for liberal values and playing a key role in Brexit negotiations as the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator.

In addition to his political roles, Verhofstadt co-chaired The Conference on The Future of Europe and currently serves as the President of the European Movement International, highlighting his continued dedication to shaping the future of Europe.

Valeria Ronzitti

Secretary General, SGI Europe, Vice President of the European Movement International

Ms Ronzitti has been the General Secretary of SGI Europe (CEEP until December 2020) since May 2012. She reached this position after having worked for the organisation for nine years. Jurist, she joined SGI Europe General Secretariat in 2003, after having started her career practising labour and civil law in a law firm in Italy.

ln her function as SGI Europe General Secretary, she is responsible for managing the organisation, including overall policy making and implementation, external representation, communication to members, management and coaching of SGI Europe staff. Current priorities are focused on positioning high-performing services of general interest as a key ingredient for the future of the EU and the trigger for a completely new paradigm for the future of the European Project.

Ms Ronzitti has been an active member of the REFIT Platform (stakeholder group) from 2015 until 2019, where she represented the public services community and was rapporteur for Employment and co-rapporteur for Competition policies. She is now a Member of the Fit4Future Platform, led by European Commission Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Between June 2021 and May 2022, she represented SGI Europe in the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Last but not least, she has been an active Member of the Board of the European Movement International since 2017, was elected Vice-President in 2020 and reelected in 2023.

Jean-François van Boxmeer

ERT Chair, Vodafone Group Chair

Jean-François van Boxmeer is Chairman of Vodafone Group plc, a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Nominations Committee. Prior to joining Vodafone in 2020, he was Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of Heineken N.V. for a period of 15 years (from 2005 to June 2020). He joined Heineken N.V. in 1984 as a trainee in production, sales and administration in the Netherlands. He moved to Africa in 1987 in Sales and Marketing roles, first in Rwanda and then in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC). He was appointed General Manager of the DRC operation in 1993.

In 1996 he returned to Europe to become President & General Manager of Zywiec S.A. in Poland, and in 2000 he was appointed Managing Director of Heineken Italia. In 2001 he joined the Executive Board of the Heineken Group, with worldwide responsibility for supply chain and technical services, as well as the operating businesses in North-West Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. After his appointment as Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer in 2005, Jean-François was to oversee a period of significant growth with the company consolidating its position as the most geographically diverse brewer in the world, the largest in Europe and the second largest globally.

Jean-François joined the Board of Mondelez International Inc. (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.) as an Independent Director in 2010 and has served as its Lead Director since 2020. He is a member of the Shareholders Committee of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA in Germany since 2013 and is non-executive Director at Heineken Holding N.V. since 2020. In 2005, he became a Member of the European Round Table for Industry (ERT) and served as its Vice-Chair from 2016 to mid-2020. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of De Nationale Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam.

Jean-François studied at the Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix S.J. in Namur (Belgium) and obtained a Masters in Economics in 1984.

Dr. Ilham Kadri

CEO, Syensqo

Dr. Kadri is CEO of Syensqo, a global specialty materials leader which originated from the demerger  of Solvay, a 160 year old chemical company, in December 2023.

Before the spin-off, Dr. Kadri drove the transformation of Solvay after she was appointed as  CEO in 2019. During her tenure, the Group outperformed its objectives and delivered double-digit EBITDA growth as well as 18 consecutive quarters of positive free cash flow, while reducing debt and reinforcing its balance sheet. The economic objectives of the Group’s G.R.O.W. strategy were met two years ahead of schedule. Under her leadership, Solvay launched a holistic One Planet sustainability roadmap, which outperformed the CO2 reduction objectives set by the Paris Agreement.  Dr. Kadri strove to promote superior people engagement, namely through the establishment of the company Purpose and the ‘One Dignity’ program to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Dr. Kadri acquired extensive leadership experience with leading global companies across a variety of industries on four continents, including Shell, UCB, Dow and Sealed Air. Prior to joining Solvay, as CEO and President of Diversey in the United States of America, she led the company’s return to profitability and subsequent spin off and divestiture to Bain Capital.

Dr. Kadri is an independent Board member at A.O. Smith and L’Oréal. She is active in non-profit organizations, as Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), member of the steering committee of the European Round Table for Industry (ERT), member of the Leadership Council of the Industry Transition Accelerator (ITA) as well as a permanent member of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council (WEF). She is a philanthropist who created two charity funds THE HYGIEIA Network in the USA to combat illiteracy and the Solvay Solidarity Fund to support families and communities impacted by external catastrophes.

Pascal Lamy

Vice-President of Paris Peace Forum, Coordinator of the Jacques Delors Think Tanks (Paris, Berlin, Brussels), Former DG of WTO, Former Trade Commissioner (European Commission)

Pascal Lamy (pascallamy.eu) is the Vice-President of the Paris Peace Forum and of the European branch of the Brunswick Group. He coordinates the Jacques Delors Institutes (Paris, Berlin, Brussels).

He is also President or member of various boards with a global, european or french vocation (European Starfish Mission (ocean), Mo Ibrahim Foundation, European Climate Foundation, IFPRI, PECC, CERRE, TMEA, Antarctica 2020, Transparency International, Alpbach Forum, Beijing Forum, World Trade Forum, WEF, Global Risks, Europaeum, Collegium international, Musiciens du Louvre, Institut Mendes-France, Colbert Foundation, etc.).

He is an affiliated professor at the China Europe International Business School CEIBS (Shanghai) and at HEC (Paris).

From 2005 to 2013, Pascal Lamy served two consecutive terms as Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He was previously Trade Commissioner (1999-2004), Director General of Crédit Lyonnais (1994-1999), Chief of Staff of the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors and his G7 Sherpa (1985-1994), Deputy Chief of Staff of the French Prime Minister (1983-1985) and to the French Minister of the Economy and Finance (1981-1983).Last publication “Strange new world” (Odile Jacob 2020), “Où va le monde?” (Odile Jacob 2018).

Stefano Grassi

Head of Cabinet, Commissioner Simson, European Commission

Stefano Grassi is Head of Cabinet to Kadri Simson, Member of the European Commission responsible for Energy. Previously Head of Cabinet to Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and member of the Cabinet of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Grassi has worked in various positions within the Secretariat General of the European Commission since 2004. He has served two Presidents of the Council of Ministers of Italy, advising President Mario Monti on European issues and economic reforms from 2011 to 2013, and as EU Sherpa and Advisor on EU policies to President Enrico Letta from 2013 to 2014. From 2002 to 2004 he worked for the Council of Europe Development Bank. He is married with two children.

Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul

Deputy Head of Unit Citzens’ dialogue, European Commission, Former Secretary-General, Institut Jacques Delors

Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul holds a degree in political science from the university of Liège and an MPhil and a DPhil in European politics and society from Oxford University. Her research focused on policy formation in the European Union, and more particularly on education policy.

Prior to her current role, Gaëtane served as the Secretary General of the Jacques Delors Institute, where she played a pivotal role in shaping discussions on European policy and governance. In her capacity as Secretary General, Gaëtane was responsible for managing the organisation and overseeing policy development and implementation, external representation, and staff management.

Gaëtane’s contributions extend beyond her role at the Jacques Delors Institute. In 2011, she was successively political analyst, acting Head of the Representation and then deputy Head and responsible for the political sector at the European Commission Representation in Paris in 2011. In 2011, she published a book at Larcier entitled Pour une Fédération européenne d’Etats-nations: la vision de Jacques Delors revisitée.

In 2018, she was seconded to the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs where she successively held the position of Deputy Secretary general for the Citizens’ consultations on Europe and Head of the Citizens’ Conferences Department at the Mission Grand Débat. She then advised the Secretary of State for European Affairs on civil society engagement and citizens’ participation.

After she reintegrated the European Commission in Brussels in early 2020 as Deputy Head of the Unit dealing with Citizens’ Dialogues, Gaëtane subsequently joined the Common Secretariat for the Conference on the Future of Europe until June 2022, where she was more particularly in charge of the conception and organization of the European Citizens’ Panels.

Georg Riekeles

Associate Director and Head of Europe’s Political Economy programme, European Policy Centre

Georg E. Riekeles is Associate Director at the Brussels-based think tank, the European Policy Centre (EPC). He has 18 years of experience at the heart of EU policy-making. Before joining the EPC, he spent eleven years at the European Commission, the five last as diplomatic advisor responsible for strategy and interinstitutional relations in the EU-UK Brexit negotiations. Prior to that, he worked in the Commission’s in-house think tank, as a member of cabinet of the EU Internal Market Commissioner, and in French civil service. His research interests cover today’s geopolitical and economic transformations, the EU’s internal market, trade, energy and digital policies, as well as security and defence issues.

Marc Vancoppenolle

Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs Europe, Nokia

Marc Vancoppenolle is leading the Policy and Government Affairs EU & Europe function at
Nokia. He and his team are working with institutions and stakeholders to create a favorable political and regulatory environment fostering broadband investments and cross sectoral digitalization at large.
Marc has over 30 years of experience in the telecommunication industry. He joined Alcatel in 1991, and then Alcatel-Lucent, where he took various international and worldwide Technical, Commercial, Marketing, Communication and Government Affairs leadership roles based in Belgium and in France. He has been driving marketing and awareness strategies
supporting the growth of the company in the areas of broadband, IP, telecom services and software applications. As Chief Marketing Officer for Alcatel Northern Europe, he led the development of Alcatel’s market positioning in the Industry & Public Sector.
Marc is a Belgian and French national. He holds a Master of Science, with a specialization in Telecommunication from the University of Leuven complemented with marketing studies from the University of Antwerp. He is advisor to FITCE Belgium (Forum for ICT & Media professionals) and Associate to Nokia’s CEO at the ERT (European Round Table for Industry). He has been Vice-Chair of the BUSINESSEUROPE Digital Economy Taskforce and a member of the board of DIGITALEUROPE as well as of the board of IICB (Innovation & Incubation Center

Alexandre Affre

Deputy Director General, BusinessEurope

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