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ECR Party

22 March 2018, Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Summit 2018 “A Future for Europe”

The resilience of the EU and Europe is constantly being tested by political distrust, electoral dissatisfaction, the Euro crisis, and security and defence challenges. Ahead of the 2019 European elections, ACRE's vision for the future is both realistic and optimistic: respecting the aspirations of Member States; reinvigorating our democracy; securing free peoples, free markets and free nations.

Join us at The Brussels Summit: A Future for Europe, that will take place on March 22nd in Brussels, at the Steigenberger Wiltcher's Hotel.

The Brussels Summit: A Future for Europe brings together leaders from politics, business, government, academia and the non-for-profit sector from across Europe, in order to shape the debate and advocate for a responsible and realistic reform of the European Union.

From keynote speeches to topic-driven panel discussions, The Brussels Summit: A Future for Europe will provide participants with valuable insights into the ideas that are shaping European politics.

The programme of this event reflects on major challenges in the pro-EU reform agenda, including:

  • Rebuilding trust in governance and democratic accountability
  • Creating an inclusive business and economic model that works across Europe
  • Paving the way to financial recovery; Monetary Union 2.0?
  • Building trust in European defense and security in an era of evolving threats
  • Europe as a global economic player: Encouraging open markets and free trade as the ultimate tool for Europe’s economic integration

Our vision for Europe

With Europe undergoing sweeping changes, the resilience of the European Union is constantly being tested by political distrust and electoral dissatisfaction, economic and financial crises, as well as security and defense challenges.

The 2018 Brussels Summit, hosted by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, the leading reformist movement in European politics that brings together 36 conservative political parties from Europe, and from across the globe, including among others the governing parties of the United Kingdom and Poland, will look into the 2019 European Election as a litmus test for Europe and as a pivotal indicator for the future of the European Union.  Real change is now on the agenda.

Two fundamentally opposing approaches to EU Reform

With only a year until the 2019 European Elections we now begin to witness two divergent pro-EU reform approaches emerging; one that enthusiastically embraces the popular desire for a change against the status quo, rooted in the need to re-mobilize citizens, meet future challenges and satisfy our nations’ aspirations and ambitions.

And a second that is merely a repackaging of the same old narrative; a Europe of deeper integration, with more regulation, higher EU budgets and higher taxes for ordinary citizens. Reinforcing instead of challenging, this agenda is guaranteed to aggravate any political, economic and institutional challenges the EU is facing, and lead further to a political backlash.

The old answers don’t seem to work well

Europe needs a new direction, a responsible and realistic reform in order to re-mobilize democratic forces, meet the challenges of our times, and satisfy our nations’ aspirations and ambitions. ACRE’s platform as Europe’s leading reformist movement is based on a positive vision; a vision that champions for an EU that is confident and dynamic, flexible and efficient. A union that respects national sovereignty and promotes democratic accountability, free enterprise and competition, low taxation and wider integration.

Ours is a message of optimism

Lying at the core of a realistic pro-EU reform, this is the true mission of a pan-European movement; to shape the debate on the future of Europe and defend the political and intellectual case for a bold alternative vision of a reformed EU as a community of nations, where the EU’s democratic legitimacy derives principally from its Member States.

From keynote speeches to topic driven panel discussions, the 2018 Brussels Summit will bring together European politicians and policy makers, media and the business community, as well as thought leaders and academics, and present participants with Europe’s most promising vision.

Location

Speakers

Mateusz Morawiecki

Prime Minister of Poland

Valeri Simeonov

Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Jan Zahradil MEP

ACRE President, Vice-Chairman, International Trade Committee, European Parliament

web / @ZahradilJan

Victor Ponta

Prime Minister of Romania, 2012-2015

@Victor_Ponta

Syed Kamall MEP

Co-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, European Parliament

@SyedKamall

Michelle Rempel MP

Former Minister of State, Canada

@MichelleRempel

Anna Fotyga MEP

Chairman, Security and Defence Subcommittee, European Parliament

Ambassador Batu Kutelia

Ambassador of Georgia to the United States (2009-2011)

@BKutelia

Samuli Virtanen

Secretary of State and Deputy Foreign Minister, Finland

Angel Dzhambazki MEP

Vice-chairman of IMRO, Bulgaria

@djambazki

Sigridur Andersen MP

Minister of Justice, Iceland

@siggaandersen

Anders Vistisen MEP

Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament

@AndersVistisen

Amjad Bashir MEP

Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament

@AmjadBashirMEP

Gian-Paolo Accardo

Executive Editor of VoxEurop

@gpaccardo

Professor Andrea Giuricin

CEO TRA Consulting

@AndreaGiuricin

Rob Jonkman

President of the European Conservatives and Reformist Group in the Committee of Regions

@robjonkman

William Horsley

International Director, Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield

Daniele Capezzone

Member of ACRE Board and Director of New Direction Italy

@Capezzone

Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky

Secretary General of the ECR Group in the European Committee of the Regions

@NevaSadikoglu

General (Ret) Knud Bartels

Former Chairman of NATO Military Committee

Alberto Zilio

Director of Public Affairs for Europe, AT&T

@AlbertoZilio

Archie Ravishankar

CEO and Co-founder, COGNI

Alessandra Bonte

Journalist

James Wharton

Former U.K. Government Minister

@jameswhartonuk

Matteo Bianchi MP

Mayor of Morazzone and Member of Parliament, Italy

@luigi_matteo

Bernd Kölmel MEP

Member of the Budget Committee and Chairman of the Delegation for relations with Canada

@Bernd_Koelmel

Bernd Lucke MEP

Member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, European Parliament

@BerndLucke

Pieter Cleppe

Head of the Brussels office of Open Europe

@pietercleppe

Jennifer Baker

EU Tech Policy Journalist

Alexandros Koronakis

Editor and CEO of New Europe

@akoronakis

Billy Linville

Partner, Lexicon Strategies

Ruža Tomašić MEP

Member of the Regional Development Committee, European Parliament

@RuzaTomasic

Alec Mally

Director, Global Economic Affairs at Foresight Strategy and Communications

Mikael Conny Svensson

Head of Government Affairs & Public Policy Europe, Mastercard

Max Andersson MEP

Member of the Legal Affairs Committee, European Parliament

@MaxAndersson

Richard Milsom

ECR Party Executive Director

Naweed Khan

Executive Director, New Direction Foundation

Mikko Salo

Founder of Faktabaari (FactBar) & Member of EU High-Level Expert Group (HLGE) on Fake News and online disinformation

@mikkovsalo

Shanker Singham

Director of International Trade and Competition Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs

@ShankerASingham

Stéphanie Finck-Piccin

Senior Director EMEA Government Affairs, Salesforce

Vassilis Akritidis

DWF LLP, Partner & Head of WTO & International Trade

Themistoklis Asthenidis

ACRE Managing Director

Agenda

Wednesday - 21 March 2018

20:00

Speakers & VIP Dinner Reception, Steigenberger Wiltcher's Hotel, Brussels

Thursday - 22 March 2018

09:30-10:00

Registration and coffee

10:00

Welcoming remarks

  • Jan Zahradil MEP, President of The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe

10:10

Keynote Speech

  • Valeri Simeonov, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria

10:20

Keynote Speech

  • Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania (2012–2015)

10:30

Panel Discussion

A new political equilibrium for Europe
REBUILDING TRUST IN GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY

With 2019 being a year of decisions, this panel will aim to redefine European values and revisit goals and priorities. The first step in this process is to acknowledge how the dogmatic vision for an ever-closer union and a deepening in European integration has failed citizens across the continent, creating further mistrust and skepticism not only in the European Institutions, but to our democratic values. As noted in the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe, many Europeans consider the Union as either too distant or too interfering in their day-to-day lives. Others question its added-value and ask how Europe improves their standard of living. To make the EU more democratic requires both more direct democracy from voters, but also far more involvement of national parliaments and regional parliaments with legislative powers in the EU decision-making. The principle of subsidiarity, moving more powers away from Brussels and back to the Member States is one of the main issues the ACRE has been campaigning for, since its foundation in 2009. The aim of this panel will be to look at how we can reform the EU so as to ensure that decision really are taken as close to our citizens as possible and so that the EU can empower our citizens without infringing on their liberties.

  • Moderator: Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky, Secretary-General of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group at the Committee of the Regions
  • Daniele Capezzone, Director, New Direction Italia
  • Angel Dzhambazki, Vice-Chairman of IMRO, European Parliament
  • James Wharton, Former U.K. Government Minister
  • Bernd Koelmel MEP, Member of the Budgets Committee, European Parliament

11:15

Keynote Speech

  • Syed Kamall MEP, Co-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, European Parliament

11:25

Panel Discussion

CREATING AN INCLUSIVE BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC MODEL THAT WORKS ACROSS EUROPE

Businesses know more than other how much has the EU overreached. Reducing the administrative burden on business and cutting red tape is the first step towards EU reform. Any future action should prioritize reducing the burdens on businesses, modernizing the European economy, creating a digital single market, and putting in place a framework that does not frustrate business success. This panel aims to make the case for the need for structural market reforms in order to strengthen competitiveness and tech innovation.

  • Moderator: Shanker Singham, Director of International Trade and Competition Unit, Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Alberto Zilio, Director of Public Affairs for Europe, AT&T
  • Archie Ravishankar, CEO and Co-founder, COGNI
  • Mikael Conny Svensson, Head of Government and Public Policy Europe, Mastercard
  • Stéphanie Finck-Piccin, Senior Director EMEA Government Affairs, Salesforce

12:15

Keynote Speech

  • Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland 

12:30

Lunch Break

13:20

Keynote Speech

  • Anders Vistisen MEP, Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament

13:30

Panel Discussion

PAVING THE WAY FOR MONETARY UNION 2.0?

The Euro has produced a fundamental competitive misalignment. Weaker Eurozone members have accumulated imbalances in the 2000s, which heightened their vulnerability to the financial crisis and left them having to undergo painful structural adjustments to return to growth. The introduction of the single currency has resulted in bubbles, more indebtedness and lost competitiveness in the countries of southern Europe. In contrast, non-Eurozone countries have been able to return to faster growth because they did not start from a position of long-standing external imbalance and thus accumulation of external indebtedness, which Euro membership facilitated.  This panel will address the economic and political consequences of the protracted and challenging post-crisis recovery and will focus on shaping a realistic policy response in order to bring the European Union back on a path of economic prosperity and growth.

  • Moderator: Daniele Capezzone, Director, New Direction Italia
  • Bernd Lucke MEP, Member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, European Parliament
  • Max Andersson MEP, Member of the Legal Affairs Committee, European Parliament
  • Pieter Cleppe, Head of the Brussels office of Open Europe

14:15

Keynote Speech

  • Michelle Rempel MP, Minister of State, Canada (2013–2015)

14:30

Panel Discussion

BUILDING TRUST IN EUROPEAN DEFENSE AND SECURITY IN AN AN ERA OF EVOLVING THREATS

With the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, a Franco-German initiative aims to move the EU away from peaceful intergovernmental cooperation and ahead with full integration of its defense mechanisms and transform EU into a military alliance. This panel shall examine the EU’s defense and security policy ambitions in the context of the sovereign integrity of Member States, as well as of the vital transatlantic security relationship within NATO, and how should the EU build common military capabilities that can credibly tackle international security threat, without weakening or undermining NATO.

  • Moderator: Alec Mally, Director, Global Economic Affairs at Foresight Strategy and Communications
  • Anna Fotyga MEP, Chairman, Security and Defence Subcommittee, European Parliament
  • Samuli Virtanen, Secretary of State and Deputy Foreign Minister, Finland
  • Batu Kutelia, Ambassador of Georgia to the United States (2009–2011)
  • General Knud Bartels (ret), Former Chairman of NATO Military Committee

15:15

Coffee Break

15:45

Panel Discussion

Europe as a global economic player
ENCOURAGING OPEN MARKETS AND FREE TRADE AS THE ULTIMATE TOOL FOR EUROPE’S ECONOMIC INTEGRATION

Free and fair-trade helps create more jobs; for the EU to excel it must be able to compete with fast-rising economies and we believe that more open trade promotes not just stronger economies, but also greater international cooperation and understanding. Opening trade will enable our producers to take advantage of globalization by outsourcing and moving up the value chain, thus creating better and more skilled jobs at home. Trade agreements have already proven to be a success story and we want the EU to become one of the world’s free trade forerunners.

  • Moderator: Vasilis Akritidis, DWF LLP, Partner and Head of the WTO & International Trade practice
  • Andrea Giuricin, CEO TRA Consulting
  • Sigridur Andersen MP, Minister of Justice, Iceland
  • Amjad Bashir MEP, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament
  • Billy Linvill Partner, Lexicon Strategies

16:30

Panel Discussion 

Misinformation and disinformation in the ‘fake news’ era
REBUILDING TRUST IN MEDIA AND SAFEGUARDING OUR SOCIETIES

Fake news is a phenomenon that exists in many forms and manifestations. Whether it is subtle misinformation, or blatant disinformation; for political gains, or advertising revenue, the fake news paradigm has presented a challenge to media, platforms, and citizens. Stakeholders have been scrambling to understand how best to react, adjust, and resolve the problems that have come to light. This panel will feature experts who will discuss the nature of fake news and examine what the different dimensions of fake news are that can be combatted. The discussion will look at structural issues of platforms, the profession of journalism, media literacy, and the role of social media.

  • Moderator: Alexandros Koronakis, Editor and CEO of New Europe
  • William Horsley, International Director, Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield
  • Gian Paolo Accardo, Executive Editor, VoxEurop
  • Jennifer Baker, EU Tech Policy Journalist
  • Mikko Salo, Founder of Faktabaari and Member of the EU High-Level Expert group (HLGE) on Fake News and online disinformation

17:15

Closing Remarks

  • Jan Zahradil MEP, President of The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe

Partners

ECR Group
European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Committee of the Regions
New Direction
The Conservative
Conservatives International
Austrian Economics Center
IFT
The Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institute
New Europe
Steigenberger Wiltcher’s Hotel