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The European Union in Practice: Politics and Power in the Brussels System

Our seminar series

In this innovative seminar series, policy practitioners talk about their experience of working with and within the EU institutions. The series is co-chaired by Visiting Senior Fellows Anthony Teasdale, Director General, European Parliamentary Research Service, and Dr. Martin Westlake, former Secretary General, European Economic and Social Committee.

All seminars are registered events and advance booking is required. Please follow the links below and register via Eventbrite. All seminars are held in Room COW 1.11, Cowdray House, LSE. 

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Michaelmas Term 2017

Friday 29 September | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘German politics and Europe: The meaning of the September 2017 election’

Quentin Peel, Former associate editor, foreign editor, chief Brussels and chief German correspondent, Financial Times; Associate Fellow, Chatham House (RIIA)

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Friday 6 October | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘The parliamentary battle to come: Can Britain’s Labour Party stop Brexit?’

(Lord) Roger Liddle, Europe Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, 1997-2004; Senior Policy Adviser  to José Manuel Barroso and Peter Mandelson, European Commission, 2004-07 


 

Friday 20 October | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘The Trump Administration and the European Union’

Anthony Gardner, US Ambassador to the EU, 2014-17; former Director for European Affairs,  National Security Council, White House; Visiting Professor, College of Europe


 

Friday 10 November | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘Scotland, Brexit and Europe: Negotiating the politics of two Unions’

Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director, Scottish Centre on European Relations; former policy analyst at  Chatham House and CEPS; former Senior Adviser, European Commission


 

Friday 17 November | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘Ups and downs in the Berlaymont: My ten years as Secretary General of the European Commission’

Catherine Day, Secretary General of the European Commission, 2005-15; Director General, DG Environment, 2002-05; member of three Commissioners’ cabinets


 

Friday 24 November | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘The Politics of Economic and Monetary Union: Past, Present and Future’

Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs (2004-10) and Competition (VP, 2010-14); Spanish minister, 1982-91; Visiting Professor, LSE


 

Friday 1 December | 16.30 - 18.00 

‘Selling change to unbelievers: EU policy in trade, biotech and AI'

Robert Madelin, Director General, European Commission (successively DG Health and DG Connect), 2004-15; Director, DG Trade, 1997-2004

2017

Lent term 2017 

Friday 27 January | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Being a Permanent Representative: Politics and policy in the Council system’
Sir Nigel Sheinwald, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, 2000-03; UK Ambassador to US, 2007-12;  Foreign policy adviser to UK Prime Minister, 2003-7; Visiting Professor, KCL
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Friday 3 February | 16.30 - 18.00
‘National parliaments and the European Parliament: Partners or rivals?’
Agata Gostyńska, Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform; Author of ‘A ten-point plan to strengthen Westminster’s oversight of EU policy’ (2015)
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Friday 10 February | 16.30 - 18.00
'The British Politics of Brexit'
Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College London (KCL); Emeritus Professor of Government, Oxford University. Author of 'The New British Constitution' and 'The Coalition and the Constitution'.
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Friday 24 February | 16.30 - 18.00
‘How is EU trade policy really made?’
Karl Falkenberg, Director General, DG Environment, European Commission, 2009-15; Deputy Director General, DG Trade, 2005-08; EU trade negotiator in WTO and on Uruguay Round
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Friday 3 March | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Britain and the European Union: Successes, failures and the future’
(Lord) Neil Kinnock, European Commissioner for Transport, 1995-99; Commission Vice-President for Administrative Reform, Audit, Personnel, Logistics and Linguistics, 1999-2004
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Friday 10 March | 16.30 - 18.00
‘How the European Union is changing under populist pressures’
Heather Grabbe, Director, Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels; Senior Adviser to European Commissioner Olli Rehn, 2004-09; former Research Fellow, EUI
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Friday 17 March | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Squaring a circle: The politics of EU Budget reform’
Gijs de Vries, Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE; former Minister in Dutch government, member of the European Court of Auditors, MEP and Leader of the ALDE Group
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2016 

Michaelmas term

Friday 14 October 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30
‘Political Europe versus Eurocratic Europe: An insider’s view’
Denis MacShane, UK Minister for Europe 2002-05; Labour MP 1994-2012; Author of ‘Brexit: How Britain will leave Europe’ (2015) and ‘François Mitterrand’ (1982)

Friday 21 October 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘Where did the 2016 Brexit referendum come from?’
Martin Westlake and Anthony Teasdale, Visiting Senior Fellows, European Institute, LSE

Friday 28 October 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘Financial markets and European political risk in 2016-17’
Mij Rahman, Managing Director for Europe, Eurasia Group; Adjunct Professor, NYU Stern Business School; former official, HM Treasury and European Commission

Friday 11 November 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘What kind of Brexit? Where do the EU institutions and member states stand?’
Philippe Legrain, Senior Policy Adviser to José Manuel Barroso, 2011-14; author of ‘European Spring’, ‘Aftershock’ and ‘Open World: The truth about globalisation’ 

Friday 18 November 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘Before the Brexit referendum: How was the UK’s ‘new settlement’ within the EU negotiated?’
Jonathan Faull, Director General for Communication, JHA, and Internal Market and Services, European Commission, 1999-2015; Head of task force on EU referendum, 2016

Friday 25 November 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘After the Brexit referendum: Do any of Britain’s options add up?'
(Lord) John Kerr, UK Permanent Representative to EU, 1990-95; UK Ambassador to US, 1995-97; PUS, FCO, 1997-2002; Secretary General of European Convention, 2002-03

Friday 2 December 2016 | 16.30 - 18.30 
‘Being an EP committee chair: Exploring the power of co-decision'
(Baroness) Sharon Bowles, Chair, Economic and Monetary Committee (ECON), European Parliament, 2009-14; Liberal Democrat MEP, 2005-14. Non-executive director, BoE.


Lent term 

Friday 22 January 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00 
‘Reporting Europe, Selling Europe: News, propaganda or smear? The viewfrom Brussels and London’
Shirin Wheeler, Principal adviser for international press, EIB since 2015; Spokesperson, EuropeanCommission, 2012-15; Presenter of BBC's 'The Record: Europe', 2006-12

Friday 29 January 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘The Role of the Court of Justice of the European Union’
Judge Christopher Vajda, UK Judge at the CJEU since October 2012. UK Barrister 1979-2012; Recorder ofthe Crown Court, 2003-12; QC 1997; Bencher of Gray's Inn, 2003

Friday 5 February 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Inside the Berlaymont: EU policy-making in development, communicationand social policy’
Lieve Fransen, Senior Adviser, European Policy Centre (EPC), Brussels; Director, EuropeanCommission, 1993 -15; former Vice-Chair, The Global Fund (GFATM)

Friday 12 February 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Five years as EU High Representative: Lessons from foreign policy’
Baroness Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, 2009-14; European Commissioner for Trade, 2008-09; former Leader, House of Lords

Friday 26 February 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Winning hearts and minds: Opportunities for and limits of EU soft power’
Gijs de Vries, Leader of Liberal Group in the EP, 1994-98; Dutch MP and Minister, 1998- 2002;EU Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, 2004-07; Member EU Court of Auditors, 2011-15

Friday 4 March 2016 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Policy-making in the dark: How the European Union is changing underpopulist pressures’
Dr. Heather Grabbe, Director, Open Society European Policy Institute; Senior Adviser to CommissionerOlli Rehn, 2004-09; former Deputy Director, Centre for European Reform.

2015

Michaelmas term 

Friday 23 October
‘The rise of European political parties’
Sir Graham Watson, Member of European Parliament, 1994-2014;  Leader, Liberal (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament, 2002-09;  President, ALDE Party since 2011.

Friday 30 October
‘Being a Permanent Representative: Politics in COREPER and the Council'
Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor, Bank of England since 2013;  UK Permanent Representative to  the EU, 2012-13;  Europe Adviser to British Prime Minister, 2007-11.

Friday 13 November
‘Inside eurozone economic governance’
Lorenzo Codogno, Director General and chief economist, Treasury department of Italian Finance Ministry, 2006-15; Chair, EU Economic Policy Committee, 2010-11

Friday 20 November
‘The changing media landscape in Brussels’
Tim King, Editor, European Voice, 2009-15;  former Brussels correspondent, Bridge News and The Business;  currently contributor to Politico Europe

Friday 27 November 
‘Europe’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis'
Hugo Brady, Speech-writer and adviser to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, since 2015; former analyst, Centre for European Reform and EUISS

Lent term

Friday 23 January 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘The European Union: An unidentified flying political object?’
Alain Lamassoure, Member of European Parliament1989-93 and since 1999; former Chair, EP Budgets Committee; former French député and Europe and Budget minister

Friday 30 January 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘The decline of the European Commission - and can anything be done to revive it?’
Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform since 1998; Brussels correspondent, The Economist, 1989-93; author of ‘Delors: Inside the House Jacques Built’

Friday 6 February 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Political reporting of the EU: The views from Brussels and London’
Shirin Wheeler, Spokesperson for Regional Policy, European Commission, 2012-15; BBC Brussels correspondent and presenter of 'The Record: Europe', 2006-12

Friday 13 February 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Inside the Berlaymont: The Politics of the European Commission’
Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs (2004-10) and Competition (2010-14); Spanish minster, 1982-91; Visiting Professor, LSE

Friday 20 February 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Towards improved accountability and performance in EU spending: A perspective from the European Court of Auditors
Phil Wynn Owen, Member of the European Court of Auditors since 2014; former Director General, DECC and DWP, and Director, HM Treasury

Friday 27 February 2015 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘The crisis in the eurozone: Have the right lessons yet been learned?’
Philippe LegrainSenior Policy Adviser to José Manuel Barroso, 2011-14; author of ‘European Spring’, ‘Aftershock’ and ‘Open World: The truth about globalisation’

2014

Michelmas term

Friday 31st October 2014 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Five Years with Van Rompuy: Politics in the European Council’
Luuk van Middelaar, Author of ‘The Passage to Europe’; Speech-writer to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, 2009-14

Friday 7th November 2014 | 15.00 - 16.30
‘The European Constitution ten years on:  Did Giscard and the Convention get Europe’s new institutional design right?’
Lord John Kerr, Secretary-General of the Convention on the Future of Europe, 2002-03;UK Permanent Representative to the EU, 1990-95

Friday 14th November 2014 | 16.30 - 18.00
'German Power in Europe - 25 years after the Fall of the Wall'
Quentin Peel, Former associate editor and chief German correspondent, Financial Times: Visiting Fellow, Chatham House (RIIA) 

Friday 21st November 2014 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘Problematic Partners: de Gaulle, Thatcher and Europe’ 
Piers Ludlow, Department of International History, LSE; author of ‘The EC and the Crises of the 1960s’ and ‘Europe and the End of the Cold War’

Friday 28th November 2014 | 16.30 - 18.00
‘How and why did Junker become Commission President in 2014?’
Martin Westlake, Secretary General, European Economic and Social Committee, 2008-13; author of ‘The Council of the EU’ and ‘Commission and Parliament’

Friday 5th December | 16.30 - 18.00
‘The eurozone debt crisis: lessons for Europe’s future'  
Fabrizio Saccomanni, Visiting Professor in Practice European Institute; Italian Minister of Finance, 2013-14; Director General, Bank of Italy, 2006-12; Vice President, EBRD, 2002-06

Lent term

Friday 17 January 2014 | 16.00 - 17.30
‘Politics and power in the European Union: How united? How divided?’
György Schöpflin, MEP since 2004 (EPP Group, Hungary); Professor of Politics, UCL, 1998-2004; author of ‘Politics in Eastern Europe 1945-92’ and ‘Nations, Identity, Power’ 

Friday 7 February 2014 | 16.00 - 17.30
‘The struggle for top jobs in Brussels in 2014’
Dr Martin Westlake, Secretary General, European Economic and Social Committee, 2008-13; author of ‘The Council of the European Union’ and ‘Commission and Parliament’

Friday 14 February 2014 | 15.30 - 16.45
‘The coming politics of the May 2014 European Parliament elections’
Andrew Duff, MEP since 1999 (ALDE Group, UK); former Director, Federal Trust; author of ‘Saving the European Union: The Logic of the Lisbon Treaty’

Friday 21 February 2014 | 16.00 - 17.30
‘What kind of European Commission - and Commission President - for 2014-19?’ 
(Lord) Roger Liddle, Europe Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, 1997-2004; Senior Policy Adviser to Jose Manuel Barroso and Peter Mandelson, European Commission, 2004-07

Friday 7 March 2014 | 16.00 - 17.30
‘Inside the Berlaymont: my life as a Eurocrat, 2011-14’
Philippe Legrain, Senior Policy Adviser to Jose Manuel Barroso, 2011-14; author of ‘Open World: The truth about globalisation’ and ‘Immigrants: Your country needs them’

Friday 14 March 2014 | 17.15 - 18.45
‘Lessons of the Van Rompuy years: What kind of European Council for 2014-19?'
Dr. Richard Corbett, Political Adviser to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, 2009-14; MEP 1996-2009 (S&D Group, UK); author of ‘The European Parliament’

2013

Michaelmas term

Friday 18 October 2013
'Will the May 2014 European Elections be different?'
Sir Julian Priestley, Secretary General of the European Parliament, 1997-2007; author of Six Battles that shaped Europe’s Parliament (2008) and Europe's Parliament: People, Places, Politics (2012) 

Friday 25 October 2013
‘The EU and NATO: Are they still living in the same city but on different planets?’
Dr Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, NATO since 2010; Director of Policy Planning, NATO, 2005-10

Friday 8 November 2013
‘How is EU Common Foreign and Security Policy really made?’
Julian Braithwaite, UK Ambassador to the EU Political and Security Committee since 2011

Friday 15 November 2013
‘Angela Markel and Europe: The View from Berlin’
Quentin Peel, Associate Editor and chief German correspondent, Financial Times

Friday 22 November 2013
‘Britain, Europe and a referendum: What do the opinion polls say?’
Peter Kellner, President, YouGov since 2007; former Political Editor, New Statesman

Friday 29 November 2013
‘Insiders, outsiders and unofficial alliances: Who and what influences policy within the EU system?’
Heather Grabbe, Director, Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels; former Senior Adviser to European Commissioner Olli Rehn

Friday 6 December 2013
‘From Suez to Syria: The Politics and Economics of Transatlantic Relations’
Ana Palacio, Spanish Foreign Minister, 2002-04; Chair, Legal Affairs Committee,European Parliament, 1999-2002; General Counsel, World Bank, 2006-08

Lent term 

Friday 1 February 2013 | 16.00
'How has the ECB responded to the euro crisis - and is a new system of euro area decision-making emerging?'
Dr. Johannes Lindner, Head of EU Institutions, European Central Bank (ECB); author of 'Conflict and Change in EU Budgetary Politics'

Friday 8 February 2013 | 16.00
'Politics, Position and Power: Working as a Director General in the European Commission'
Sir Michael Leigh, Director General for Enlargement, European Commission, 2006-11;currently Senior Adviser, German Marshall Fund, Brussels

Friday 22 February 2013 | 16.00
'The European Parliament and EU Inter-Institutional Relations'
Klaus Welle, Secretary General, European Parliament since 2009; former Secretary General, EPP Group and EPP transnational party

Friday 1 March 2013 | 16.00
'Working with Barroso: Life at the top of the Berlaymont'
Dr. João Marques de Almeida, Political Adviser to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, 2006-12. Director, Portuguese National Defence Institute, 2004-06

Friday 8 March 2013 | 16.00
'The United States and the European Union: Transatlantic Perspectives from Washington, Brussels and London'
Dr. Kristina Kvien, Economic Counselor, US Embassy, London; Director for the EU, Ukraine and Belarus, National Security Council, White House, 2008-10 

2012

Michaelmas term 

Friday 19 October 2012 | 16.00
'Britain and Europe: Lessons from 40 years of EU membership'
Sir Stephen Wall, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, 1995-2000, and Head of European Secretariat, Cabinet Office, 2000-2004; Author of 'A Stranger in Europe' and 'From Rejection to Referendum, 1963-1975'

Friday 26 October 2012 | 16.00
'How does the European Court of Justice really work?'
Sir Francis Jacobs QC, Advocate General, European Court of Justice, 1998-2006; President of the Centre of European Law and Professor, King's College, London 

Friday 2 November 2012 | 16.00
'How the media report the European Union today'
Shirin Wheeler, Spokesperson for Regional Policy, European Commission; BBC Brussels correspondent and presenter of 'The Record: Europe', 2006-12

Friday 16 November 2012 | 16.00
'The euro crisis and the President of the European Council'
Richard Corbett, Political Adviser to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the EuropeanCouncil; Labour MEP, 1996-2009; Co-author, 'The European Parliament'

Friday 23 November 2012 | 16.00
'Why the CFSP is more than a lowest common denominator'
Robert Cooper, Visiting Professor, LSE, and was Counsellor to Cathy Ashton, High Representative for CFSP, 2010-12, and Director General,External and Politico-Military Affairs, Council secretariat, 2002-10.Angus Lapsley, Director for European and Global issues, Cabinet Office, and was previously Head of CFSP/CSDP, UK Representation to EU