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Who holds the power in Europe?

A Note by the Director (Ditchley 2011/05)

7-9 April 2011

At this conference, blessed by glorious early spring sunshine, we looked at how power had shifted in Europe and within the European Union, at the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on power relations within the EU, and at how global developments are affecting Europe and the EU. Most participants were from Europe, with a wide spread of nationalities and perspectives round the table, but we also had outside voices, notably from the US and Canada, to keep European navel-gazing in check. We also had to keep reminding ourselves that the EU was not synonymous with Europe. Our aim was not only to analyse the current situation but also to look forward to longer term developments and make recommendations about future directions where we could.

The starting point for much of the analysis was the Lisbon Treaty. Participants pointed out that, contrary to the impression often given, it was in fact a treaty that brought few sweeping changes, compared for example to Maastricht. It was still in the early stages of implementation and most cautioned against making any definitive assessments just yet, particularly of the External Action Service. But there was broad agreement that the overall winners in the power stakes so far were the member states, via the dominance of the European Council as the key decision making forum, and the European Parliament, while the Commission and Council of Ministers had both lost influence. The expansion of Parliamentary co-decision in policy-making was one area where the shift sideways of relative power was particularly clear. It was still not clear where all this left the rotating presidency. Meanwhile the ECB remained a very powerful institution on the monetary side.

The balance might change again over time. The Commission’s central role in initiating proposals was still important, and the normative power of the central institutions as a whole should not be underestimated. Meanwhile the Brussels-centric argument over whether the community method or intergovernmentalism was the right way forward missed the point. Clearly intergovernmental cooperation, or the Union method as Chancellor Merkel recently christened it, was dominant for now. But there was room for both over time, and no necessary incompatibility between the two. Institutions such as the Commission also still had a role to play in equalising the playing field to some extent for the smaller member states. The EU could not survive if it came to be all about big state deal-making among themselves.

Other reforms had also yet to bed down. For instance, the Treaty made provision for the President of the European Council to be active in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy – President van Rompuy had not yet taken on this role, not least because of his inevitable preoccupation with the consequences of the financial crisis. The Treaty’s impact also ultimately depended not only on the text itself and on internal processes – though process inevitably did matter in the EU, for example for implementing European Council decisions – but also on the leaders and personalities involved, as well as the economic and political context.

The increase in power of the European Council was seen as the most significant recent change. It now met much more frequently than in the past and leaders had insisted on being alone to take the key decisions, for example excluding foreign ministers. Having van Rompuy as a dedicated President seemed to have made a real difference. The global financial crisis and the stresses within the eurozone had forced through some decisions in this forum which might have taken years otherwise – an example of the EU moving forward most effectively when no other choice was available because backs were against the wall. However, there were still obvious weaknesses. Capacity to deal strategically with crises and to be able to co-ordinate member state policies when reacting to external shocks clearly needed bolstering.

The newest instrument created by the Lisbon Treaty, the External Action Service, was the subject of much debate. There was sympathy for the complexity and difficulty of the task the High Representative faced in trying to implement what had been agreed, and a feeling that she had not always been helped by her colleagues as much as she might have reasonably expected. It was clear that it was much too soon to reach any conclusions on how the new set-up would turn out. At the same time, many worried that a great opportunity was at risk of being squandered. The EAS certainly had a long way to go to develop real credibility and trust from the member states. It had to add value to and complement what member states were doing and would go on doing for themselves, rather than trying to compete with them. This was a major challenge, and the right approach was bound to take time to emerge. Moreover the EAS, no matter how good it became as an institution, could not function effectively in the absence of political will from the member states.

While acknowledging that the European Parliament now had real legislative power and was beginning to exercise that power more responsibly, working with the Council and Commission, some participants believed that it nevertheless faced a crisis of legitimacy. Participation in European elections continued to decline and the connection between the Parliament and its electors was distant at best. There was still no such thing as a European demos, and little sign of one developing. The EP’s links with national parliaments were also increasingly weak – and national parliaments remained the key democratic institution for the member states and their peoples. Some also felt that, rather than concentrating on the real powers it now possessed in many areas, the Parliament was trying to turn itself into the Executive.  Others pointed out that the right comparison for voter participation levels was not with national parliaments, which created governments, but with bodies such as the US Congress, whose electoral turn-out was significantly lower in percentage terms than that of the EP. Moreover national parliaments had neither the interest nor the expertise to scrutinise European legislation effectively. One way the EP might gain legitimacy was the creation of pan-European political parties and election campaigns, but there was little prospect of that in present circumstances. One suggestion was that the main political groupings in the EP should go into European elections with a declared candidate for president of the Commission.

However the question of legitimacy was seen as going much wider than the Parliament. The legitimacy of the EU as a whole had declined since its inception; in many countries, not just the traditionally more eurosceptic ones, the Union was no longer seen as a power multiplier and a positive sum game. European institutions and European politics were out of synch. Nationalist and populist tendencies were growing in many member states, even traditionally very pro-European ones such as Finland, and the EU was always an easy scapegoat. The disconnect between European decisions and the public across Europe was particularly worrying – there was increasingly little debate or understanding about the EU in most countries. Citizens, particularly the young, did not perceive the EU as relevant to their lives, though of course it was extremely important in some areas. National politicians did not raise Europe with the voters themselves, even where they knew Europe was a key actor, because they thought this was a sure-fire way of turning them off. Bridging this legitimacy gap was seen as urgent. A major new effort was needed to explain to citizens what the European Union did for them. Greater transparency might help, for example about the workings of the European Council, which did have legitimacy because its members were all elected leaders. But how could such efforts make a difference unless the basic interest was there? All agreed that much more work remained to be done in this area, and that the risks to the EU over time were very considerable unless this negative dynamic could be changed. A new positive European narrative was needed. This probably should be more about external influence in the world, faced with globalisation, declining western power, and existential cross-cutting challenges such as climate change, than about internal integration.

Against the backdrop of the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty, internal power balances among the member states had also shifted. A lot of discussion centred on the increasingly central and powerful role of Germany. Historically, German EU policy had four planks – the Franco-German relationship, support for EU institutions, support and respect for smaller member states, and a willingness to contribute financially to the Union while not necessarily demanding commensurate influence. Germany had been becoming a more ‘normal’ country within the EU for years, in the sense of greater readiness to defend its national interests without embarrassment, but its necessarily pivotal role in the Euro crisis had illustrated how this traditional policy had now been definitively overtaken by a more nationalistic tone and approach.

Participants agreed that this change was not about a simple desire to dominate the Union. Even the commonly used expression of a ‘reluctant hegemon’ did not quite capture the reality of German discomfort at being thrust into such a leading role. Nor was Germany turning into a eurosceptic country on the British model. But the reality of Germany’s economic power could not be denied, and the constraints of German domestic politics had to be acknowledged. The German public and political class took a lot of convincing that they should pay for the perceived profligacy of others, as reflected in the financial crisis, or that they should become less competitive just to help others who had made fewer sacrifices than they had and failed to play by the rules. German policy and public statements had to be fashioned accordingly. There was no doubt that the way Germany had been handling itself in the crisis, for example over the Deauville summit, had left a lot of member states feeling bruised, particularly the smaller ones, and participants felt that more sensitive tactics and greater consultation were urgently needed. At the same time the German Chancellor had delivered responses to the crisis and had been ready to pay up in the end, not least because of the interests of the heavily exposed German banks.

We discussed how far the Franco-German ‘motor’ still functioned. Its demise had been long predicted, and hoped for by some, but participants believed it remained crucial, even if it had been weakened by strong disagreements between the leaders, and by the greater difficulty of bringing along 27 countries. It worked not because France and Germany agreed about most things but precisely because, instinctively, they did not but recognised that they had to find joint ways forward. Once they agreed they could usually convince or browbeat the others into following, because they represented different approaches and cultures across Europe. The French were clearly worried by the rise of German influence but had recognised the economic realities, and decided to hug the Germans close, while simultaneously building wider alliances, eg with the eastern countries whom they had previously neglected, in order to strengthen their bargaining power. The British had meanwhile lost influence because they appeared increasingly semi-detached, particularly from developments in the eurozone. Italy and Spain had also arguably diminished in influence for a number of economic and political reasons. The only big country with increasing power, apart from Germany, was Poland.

Developments inside the eurozone clearly preoccupied us in many ways. We were meeting just after it had been finally agreed that Portugal too needed a bail-out. It was generally felt that the logic of a single currency and of recent events made greater economic integration within the eurozone inevitable. The gap between centralised monetary policy and decentralised fiscal policy was simply too great to be sustainable. There was scepticism that the measures agreed so far eg the proposed competitiveness pact, would prove sufficient, since they were not legally binding and enforceability remained a major problem. There was also concern about how increased economic integration could be reconciled with the issues of legitimacy and resistance to greater EU ‘interference’ already noted. The centrifugal tendencies were strong, even if the compelling economic logic pointed only in one direction.

We had no easy answers in this area, but recognised that we were inevitably moving towards a two-speed or multi-speed Europe in a more definite way than ever before. There were of course already significant examples of differential progress, including the eurozone itself, and Schengen. But the default assumption had been that those outside such arrangements would over time catch up or join in. This could no longer be assumed. A core group had effectively already emerged. Moreover variable geometries were inevitably needed to manage the complexities of a Europe of 27, and the multiple challenges of present-day international relationships and a multi-polar world. Some argued that only a clearly two-speed Europe could now keep all concerned satisfied, and offer attractions for those who had to move faster, to compensate for the sovereignty they would be giving up. A clear aim was now needed. Others believed that it would be a much more pick and mix approach, with different countries in different positions according to the area of activity rather than two distinct groups. For example the UK could lead on defence, together with France, while remaining outside the eurozone. Germany would clearly play a leading role in economic and other internal policies but was less at ease in the foreign policy and defence area.

Some pointed to the difficulty of maintaining the cohesion of the EU as a whole if there were a clear vanguard and a separate rearguard, or even if there were several speeds increasingly separate from each other. Could the single market remain single for all in such circumstances? Which EU would new members be required to join?  And was the ‘transfer union’ still essential in some areas really compatible with a two-speed Europe? We could not attempt to answer these questions in the time available but had no doubt that they needed to be taken seriously. Leadership and vision would be crucial in developing greater coherence and a Europe with which all could feel comfortable, and seemed to be sadly lacking for the moment. But there was no appetite for further Treaty change any time soon. Necessary reforms should therefore be pursued incrementally within the current structure.

Having 27 member states already made the Union’s cohesion more difficult in other ways. With so many interlocutors around the table, discussions automatically became more formal and agreement more difficult. These complications had not been successfully addressed by the Lisbon Treaty. Further enlargement would only aggravate these problems. Most participants saw this as a reason why enlargement had mostly run its course for now, with only Croatia and perhaps Iceland seen as likely to join in the near future. But this was seen as too gloomy an enlargement outlook by others. The EU’s attractions remained for many outside, and their aspirations could only be ignored at the EU’s peril, even if the pace was bound to be measured at best.

Meanwhile the fact that Turkey’s accession negotiations had stalled was seen as a missed opportunity. It would be important to find new ways of working together beyond the accession process. A good relationship with Turkey was vital in addressing regional challenges, particularly the Middle East. While the European Union should put effort into new methods of cooperation, Turkey should be open to developing the relationship even while accession negotiations were not moving into new areas, such as CFSP, rather than trying to use this as leverage.

Russia was the other key relationship in the near abroad which the European Union needed to nurture. There was some disagreement as to whether this should be done through formal mechanisms such as an EU/Russia forum, on the lines of the Meseberg proposal, or whether a more ad hoc relationship should be pursued. Some of Russia’s domestic policies did not make her easy to deal with or embrace. But the common interests were clear, such as energy security and stability in the shared neighbourhood, and the effort to work together had to be intensified.

This took us on to the international position of the EU more widely and where power would lie in foreign policy in the future. The big member states were not ready to give up their ability to adopt positions in accordance with their narrow (by some definitions) national interest, and their wish to manage the relationships with major outside powers themselves. There was little point in trying to change this in the short term. But it did mean that the EU was invariably losing power at the global level. The EAS had to find its way in this context, and show that it could make a difference. Building capacity in strategic planning, for instance by creating a Strategic Foresight or Planning Cell in the External Action Service, could help here.

In these circumstances the feeling was that expectations had to be reduced. The EU was not and would probably never be a state, with all the relative agility and unity of purpose which that implied, and should not be judged as if it were already a United States of Europe superpower. Posturing which implied the opposite and the search for European visibility for its own sake should be avoided. But the EU had advantages in terms of the wide range of soft power tools at its disposal, and should use these more effectively. The priority should be getting some practical things right and carrying some key projects through, to build credibility. This should start with the near neighbourhood – above all the Balkans, but also the eastern neighbours, where the EU was still punching below its weight, and now North Africa and the Middle East.

At the same time others argued that Europe would never gain global influence and legitimacy without a real effort to improve its hard power capabilities. The limits of soft power were very clear without this. ‘Smart power’, combining the two, should be the aim. The United States’ ever increasing reluctance to take on military and strategic responsibility for the European neighbourhood underlined the importance of developing capacity in this area. The US reaction to the Libya crisis should be a wake-up call for Europe, and could even be seen as an opportunity to shake European governments out of their complacency, faced with multiple threats as we were. However, others feared ‘Yanks go home’ remained a dangerous slogan. Were the Europeans capable of picking up the hard power challenge when the will to spend on defence was so limited? The EU might not be the right vehicle in this area, compared to better use of NATO, or ad hoc combinations of member states led by Britain and France, since German leadership was much less in evidence here. In any case, without something of this sort, the risk of the EU drifting into global irrelevance was real. Europe had to be one of the key poles in a multipolar world and could not afford to be just a regional power, even if efforts to make a difference had to start in the neighbourhood. Improving strategic decision-making would help ensure this. Europe needed relationships with new powers such as China and India which were about more than trade, and was very vulnerable to being divided if common strategic positions were not devised.

Even though the United States’ frustration with Europe in the area of hard power was clear, and the US was focussed in many ways on the emerging power and economies of Asia, it was agreed that generally the EU/US relationship continued to be close and constructive, and needed to remain so. The US and the EU were cooperating in depth on a daily basis on trade, diplomacy and in other key sectors. Common values remained a vital bond and the relationship should not be judged on the basis of disagreement in one area.

We noted that many of the global leadership constraints identified were not exclusive to the EU; nation states too faced crises of leadership and legitimacy, budgetary constraints, demanding non-state actors and challenges to centralised decision-making. Globalisation weakened the ability to respond to voters’ demands for effective action, but strengthened those demands. At the same time the relative influence of the western world as a whole was declining. The logical response for national governments in these circumstances would be to see increased attractions in the EU as a power multiplier but the reaction was the opposite so far. A key message was that the EU should not try to do everything, but should concentrate on those areas where it could add real value. In this context, if increased intergovernmentalism was the price to pay for allowing the EU to act, it was a price worth paying.

There was a suggestion that the Union’s democratic deficit allowed it to be the ‘guardian’ of long-term global issues often difficult to address by nation states against the backdrop of short-term electoral considerations, such as climate change. Others strongly contested this – this kind of elitist view would undermine legitimacy further. The key point was that citizens expected their governments to deliver the goods, and did not care much where this was done, as long as it was done. It was therefore in all member states’ interest to ensure effectiveness and authority at the EU as well as the national level, depending on responsibilities and competences.

We discussed Europe’s role in global governance, in global institutions and new bodies such as the G20. The ultimate goal in international fora could no doubt be a single EU seat. However, this goal seemed well out of reach for now, and it was more important to concentrate on a common message than on a common seat, even if the present hopelessly confused arrangements for EU representation as between different international bodies could usefully be sorted out. In these circumstances Europe should not be shy about defending its current presence in bodies like the Security Council and the G20, whatever the accusations of over-representation. It was for others to make the case for change.

Overall our answer to the exam question in the conference title was that member states continued to hold the power and had recently strengthened their grip because of a combination of the effects of the Lisbon treaty and the financial crisis. There would and could be no EU without the member states, and the nation remained the key building block and source of legitimacy and influence. In the large, sensitive and expensive areas of public policy such as defence and public order, the member states still held undisputed sway. The ‘follow the money’ principle also led to the member states; the EU budget remained small in relative terms, and member states showed little sign of readiness to increase it – rather the opposite. However, this was not a zero-sum game. Power was diffused across many players in the modern world. National sovereignty and shared sovereignty could and should reinforce each other. Moreover, power had not been repatriated to capitals away from Brussels. Rather intergovernmental decision-making had become more entrenched in Brussels, compared to past Commission-led and centrally driven initiatives. The financial crisis had reinforced this through frequency and flexibility of meetings of the heads of state and government, meeting as the European Council. At the same time the completely different “street view” of the European Union, questioning its relevance, was of great concern; survival of the EU could certainly not be taken for granted while this remained the case, even though insiders assumed that the EU could somehow continue to muddle through.

Against this background, practical policy suggestions on the way forward in different areas included the following:

Legitimacy

  • The strength of national reactions in all member states had to be taken fully into account when European decisions were being made.
  • Trust had urgently to be rebuilt between the member states and the EU institutions.
  • Popular interest and engagement could be improved through:
    • National politicians engaging in serious public debate on European affairs;
    • Further consideration being given to the possibility of the direct election of the Commission President;
    • Looking again at making Permanent Representatives of the Member States in Brussels political appointments;
    • Further encouragement of citizens’ initiatives;
    • Better programmes of civic education to demonstrate to citizens how the EU affected their daily lives;
    • More  European meetings with, and briefings of, National Parliaments to improve understanding and transparency; Denmark and Finland could be a model here.

Efficiency

  • German and Franco-German leadership, while necessary, needed to become much more sensitive to the concerns of other member states, including the small ones.
  • A multi-speed Europe needed to be flexible and adaptable while not losing sight of the need to retain the overall coherence of the Union of 27. 
  • The Euro crisis had underlined the need for more capacity at the European level to coordinate budgetary and economic affairs, and direct the huge bail-out funds.

Foreign Policy

  • Member states needed to learn to speak with a common voice – a single message was more important than a single seat.
  • Neighbourhood policy needed to be reinforced and updated, with a particular emphasis on the Western Balkans, the eastern neighbours and the Maghreb. 
  • The EU should set out its view of the parameters of a final settlement for the Middle East Peace Process, to reflect the EU’s vital interest and the parlous state of the Process, without aspiring to the role of mediator, which only the US could fulfil.
  • Effective strategic engagement with Turkey should be a priority, whatever was happening in the accession negotiations, and with Russia.
  • Efforts to make the External Action Service an effective body, complementary to national diplomacy, should be stepped up and fully supported by all. 
  • A Strategic Planning Cell should be set up within the External Action Service. The EU should also continue to focus on the big cross-cutting global challenges such as climate change and energy security.
  • Europe should urgently pick up the challenge thrown down to it by the US in terms of improving its hard power capability.
  • The EU should focus on connecting with people and encouraging civil society in the Arab Spring, with a long term programme.

The overall mood at the conference was one of wanting to make Europe a more effective player in the world – to start to bridge the gap between aspiration and reality - but on a pragmatic basis, using its strengths to add value in the areas where its real potential lay – economic integration for prosperity, a strong and common voice in international fora and a liberal democratic example for others to follow. The reality of 27 had to be turned into constructive diversity, not destructive fragmentation. Europe remained the most attractive model as a place to live well and freely. This was not a negligible asset and Europe should not underplay its strengths, and the magnitude of its achievement, unique in history, in making war between its members inconceivable. Arguably the biggest present worry was the difficulty of reconciling more European integration, inevitable in the eurozone, with declining legitimacy and rising populism. European leaders had to carry the public with them in the development of the European project, or risk its failure. ‘It’s all about leadership’, as one participant reflected at the conclusion of the conference.

We were lucky to have such wide-ranging expertise and experience round the table – guided by our disciplined and thoughtful Chairman – and, while we did not solve all problems that were identified, there was a real sense that the European project could continue to improve the lives of European citizens, if only the necessary political leadership and strategic vision could be found.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

PARTICIPANTS
Chair :  Sir John Grant KCMG
Executive Vice President, Policy and Corporate Affairs, BG Group plc (2009-). Formerly: President Europe, BHP Billiton (2007-09); HM Diplomatic Service (1976-2007); HM Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Union, Brussels (2003-07): HM Ambassador to Sweden (1999-2003); Principal Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1997-99); UK Permanent Representation to the EU (1994-97 and 1989-93); European Secretariat, Cabinet Office (1993-94).

BELGIUM
His Excellency Mr Johan Verbeke 
Ambassador of Belgium to the United Kingdom (2010-).  Formerly: Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Georgia (2008-09); Special Coordinator of the UN Secretary General in Lebanon (2008).

BULGARIA
Ambassador Vesselin Valkanov 
Bulgarian Diplomatic Service (1986-); Political Director, Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011-).  Formerly: Head, Political and Institutional Issues Department, EU Directorate (2009-10).

CANADA
Mr Pierre Guimond 
Director, Policy Planning, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), Ottawa.  Formerly: Ambassador of Canada to the Republics of Hungary, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

CANADA/ITALY
Mr Eric Reguly 
The Globe and Mail (1997-); European Business Correspondent, Rome (2007-).  Formerly: The Times, London; Bureau Chief, Financial Post of Canada, London and New York.

CZECH REPUBLIC
Dr Vojtech Belling 
Acting State Secretary and Director General for EU Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Prague (2010-).  Formerly: Deputy Director, Department for Strategies and Analyses, Office of the Prime Minister (2009-10).

DENMARK
Ambassador Michael Zilmer-Johns
Danish Diplomatic Service (1982-); State Secretary for Foreign and Security Policy, EU Policy and EU Coordination and Head of the North Group (2005-).  Formerly: Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Prime Minister's Office (2003-05).

ESTONIA
Dr Kaja Tael
Estonian Diplomatic Service (1998-); Under-Secretary for European Union Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tallinn (2006-).  Formerly: Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2001-06).

EUROPEAN UNION/GERMANY
Mr Klaus Welle
Secretary General, The European Parliament, Luxembourg (2009-).  Formerly: European Parliament, Brussels: Head, Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament (2007-09); Director-General for Internal Policies (2004-07).

EUROPEAN UNION/LUXEMBOURG
Mr Jim Cloos
Deputy Director-General, General Political Questions and Inter-institutional Relations, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (2006-).  Formerly: Director, Transatlantic Relations, Latin America, United Nations, Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union (2001-06).

EUROPEAN UNION/POLAND
Mr Maciej Popowski
Deputy Secretary General, European External Action Service (2010-).  Formerly:  Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek MEP (2009-10); Director, DG Development, European Commission (2008-09).

EUROPEAN UNION/PORTUGAL
His Excellency Mr Joâo Vale de Almeida
European Commission (1982-); Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Washington DC (2010-).  Formerly: Director General for External Relations, European Commission, Brussels (2009-10).

EUROPEAN UNION/UNITED KINGDOM
Mr Peter Sandler
European Commission (1991-); Head of Unit, Policy Coordination, Inter-institutional Relations and Communications, Directorate-General for Trade (2007-).  Formerly: Assistant to the Director-General for Trade (2005-07).

Mr Jonathan Scheele EA
European Commission (1974-); Head of European Commission Representation in the UK (2010-).  Formerly: Director, Mobility and Transport Directorate-General; Head, European Commission Delegation in Romania (2001-06).

Mr Anthony Teasdale
Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek MEP; Visiting Fellow, European Institute, London School of Economics. 

FINLAND
Mrs Tanja Jääskeläinen 
Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland, London.  Formerly: Senior Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

FRANCE
Mr François Lagrange 
Chairman, National Commission for Privatisation, Paris (1998-); Author.  Formerly: President, Patent Office, France; Member, Council of State (1997-98); Managing Director, European Investment Fund (1994-97).  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Jean-Claude Piris
Joint Straus/Senior Emile Noel Fellow, Jean Monnet Center, New York University (2010-11).  Formerly: Director General of the Legal Service, European Council; French Diplomatic Service; Director of Legal Affairs, OECD.

GERMANY
Mr Siddik Bakir
Weidenfeld Scholar, MPhil Candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, St Antony's College, University of Oxford (2009-11).  Formerly: Political Advisor to Baroness Nicholson, European Parliament and House of Lords (2007-09).

Ms Almut Möller 
Head, Alfred von Oppenheim Centre for European Policy Studies, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin (2010-).  Formerly: Freelance Analyst, London (2008-10).

Dr Daniela Schwarzer
Head of EU Integration Research Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin (2008- ); Scientific Advisor, Centre d'Analyse Stratégique du Premier Ministre (Prime Minister's Centre for Strategic Analysis), Paris (2011-). 

Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller 
Senior Transatlantic Fellow (2009-), formerly Director, Berlin Office (2005-09), German Marshall Fund of the United States, Berlin.  Formerly: Die Zeit: Defence and International Security Editor (1998-2005). A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

NETHERLANDS
Professor Nanette Neuwahl PhD
Professor of European Union Law and Jean Monnet Chair in European Law, Centre de Recherche en Droit Public (Centre for Research on Public Law), Faculty of Law, University of Montreal; Co-Director (with J Monar), European Foreign Affairs Review.

POLAND/UNITED KINGDOM
Mr Eugeniusz Smolar
Senior Fellow, Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw; Visiting Senior Fellow, Centre for European Studies, Brussels; Chairman, Polish-Czech Forum.  Formerly: President, Center for International Relations, Warsaw (2005-09).

ROMANIA
His Excellency Mr Bogdan Mazuru
Ambassador of Romania to France (2010-).  Formerly: Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-10); Ambassador to Berlin (2006-09).

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Ambassador Alexander Grushko
Russian Diplomatic Service (1977-); Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (2005-).  Formerly: Director, Department of European Cooperation (2002-05).

SLOVAKIA
Ambassador Frantisek Ruzicka
Director General for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava.  Formerly: Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Poland; Director General for European Affairs (2004-05).

TURKEY
Ms Nilgün Arisan Eralp 
Director, EU Institute, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Ankara (2009-).  Formerly: Director, National Programme, Secretariat General for EU Affairs, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000-09).

UNITED KINGDOM
The Lord Aldington
Senior Advisor, Deutsche Bank London (2009-); Deputy Chairman, Royal Academy Trust (2003-); Member, Oxford University's Court of Benefactors (1990-); Trustee, Institute for Philanthropy (2008-); Vice President of the National Churches Trust (2008-); Chairman of Stramongate Ltd.  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Charles Grant
Co-Founder and Director, Centre for European Reform (1996-); Member, International Council, Terra Nova; Advisory Board Member, Moscow School of Political Studies; Advisory Board Member, Centre for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies, Istanbul.  A Member of the Programme Committee and a Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Tim King
Editor (2009-), formerly Deputy Editor, European Voice, Brussels.  Formerly: Correspondent, The European, The Business; Contributor, Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Irish Times.

Mr Mark Leonard
Co-Founder and Director, The European Council on Foreign Relations, London      (2007-).  Formerly: Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform, London (2005-06); Visiting Scholar, Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, Beijing (2006).

Ms Susan Pointer
Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Google Inc, London (2008-).  Formerly: Director of European Public Policy, Amazon.com, Brussels & London (2001-08).

Mr Philip Stephens
Associate Editor and Chief Political Commentator, Financial Times. A Governor and Member of the Council of Management, The Ditchley Foundation.

UNITED KINGDOM/FRANCE/GREECE
Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis 
Professor in International Relations, University of Oxford; Member, Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, 2020-30; Council Member, European Council on Foreign Relations.

USA
Ms Beryl Blecher
US Department of Commerce Officer (1986-); Minister Counselor, Foreign Commercial Service, US Mission to the European Union, Brussels (2010-).  Formerly: Senior Commercial Officer, US Embassy, Moscow (2007-09).

Dr Charles Kupchan
Senior Fellow for Europe Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington DC; Professor, International Affairs, Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government, Georgetown University.