EuroComment Dialogue Group

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EuroComment’s stock in trade is, and will remain, independent, well-informed analysis of EU politics at the highest level. Against the background of the euro crisis we launched a highly successful dialogue programme involving both public and private actors.

The centrepiece of this programme is a series of four or five dialogue meetings a year. Each meeting involves a working session of approximately 3 hours plus a working dinner of 2-3 hours. The number of participants will never exceed 25, of whom up to 12 will come from banks, pension funds, mutual funds and other investment groups, and 5-8 from the EU institutions and member state governments. There will also be up to 7 independent experts, including the chairman, Peter Ludlow.

Every meeting will be an off the record gathering of peers, all of whom can be expected to have something to contribute and from whom everybody else should be able to learn. What we want to initiate in other words is a mutual learning process based on an uninhibited exchange of views.

This programme has operated successfully for the last 12 years but with the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown we have had to adapt to the new circumstances. Meetings planned from February on were cancelled and since the last meeting of the Dialogue Group in Madrid in January we have held 9 virtual meetings. These 90 minute sessions with senior officials in the EU institutions and different government departments have been extremely informative and focused and the virtual format has not inhibited group members from asking searching questions and making comments.

Future Plans

Because these video meetings have proved to be successful and popular with members EuroComment has decided to offer to Dialogue Group members 12 virtual meetings each year alongside the resumption of 5 real meetings in EU capitals once travel restrictions and other lockdown measures are removed.

If this combination of virtual meetings, to which several different staff members can attend at the same time, and real meetings, limited to one staff member from each organisation is interesting to your company please contact us through the link on the website. Peter Ludlow’s expert analysis of each meeting of the European Council now published by Leuven University Press as “European Council Studies” is also included in Dialogue Group membership.

If you feel that your company could benefit from exchanges with policy makers in these capitals and that insights into the decision making process in Brussels and elsewhere could enhance your understanding of the conditions for business in the EU please contact us. If interested just in the written analyses of European Council please contact Leuven University Press.

Because of the various restrictions imposed by governments during the pandemic the Dialogue Group is meeting in video conferences. So far we have had presentations and discussions with:

  • Jeppe Tranholm Mikkelsen. Secretary General of the Council
  • Maarten Verwey. Director General, DG ECFIN
  • Gert-Jan Koopman. Director General DG Budget

And we have meetings arranged with:

  • Declan Costello, Deputy Director General, DG ECFIN
  • Didier Seeuws. Director. Council Task Force on the UK
  • Stefano Sannino, Deputy Secretary General, EEAS

Though we miss meeting together holding video meetings mean that several members of staff from corporate members of the Dialogue Group can join in the discussions and meetings are very focused.

The new Dialogue Group programme, from June to December 2021, is organised around Europe’s post Covid-19 Recovery programmes and the prospects for the EU economy. There will be eleven video meetings and two physical meetings, in Brussels and in Berlin. Starting at 15.00 and continuing over a working dinner, the Brussels meeting will provide an opportunity to take stock of the EU’s Recovery Programmes with the help of senior officials in the Council, the Commission, the ECB and the ESM and two or three independent experts. The meeting in Berlin, which will take place shortly after the formation of the first, post-Merkel government, will discuss the new administration’s priorities.

June
23. Maarten Verwey. Director General, DG ECFIN. The present state of play and the next steps.

29. Gonzalo Garcia Andrés, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economics. The Spanish Plan.

September
15. Vitor Escaria, Chef de Cabinet of Prime Minister Costa. The Portuguese Plan.

21. Rolf Strauch. Chief Economist, and Pilar Castrillo of the ESM. Comparing the EU’s and the United States’ response to the pandemic.

October
07. Luigi di Santo, Ministry of Economics and Finance, Rome. The Italian programme.

12. Sandrine Gaudin, Head of Secretariat for European Affairs, prime minister’s office. The French programme.

14. Michael Arghyrou, Head of Council of Economic Advisers, Greece. The Greek programme.

18. Peter Palus, Slovak Permanent Representation. The Slovak programme.

November
16. Savic Zvonimir, Prime Minister’s Office. The Croatian programme.

23. Szabolcs Agosthazy State Secretary, Ministry of Economy, Budapest. The Hungarian programme.

25. Patryk Loszewski, Polish member of the EU Economic and Financial Committee. The Polish programme.

December
A physical meeting in Brussels. three 90-minute sessions plus working dinner. Date to be determined.

Contact us if you feel that your company could benefit from membership of the Dialogue Group.