OUR NEXT EVENTS


The European Parliamentary Association organises over the year a huge variety of events . See below to know more about our upcoming events.


APE breakfast 26 October 20017Breakfast with MEP Kaja Kallas

Estonia, or better “E-stonia”, is, according to the American monthly magazine Wired “the world’s most digitally advanced society”. As stated by the European Commission, the Baltic country “is the champion in Europe in the online provision of public services, and scores above EU average in digital skills and the use of Internet by citizens”.

At the beginning of July, Estonia took the Presidency of the Council of the European Union claiming that it can help to bridge digital divides among member states and contribute to the bloc’s cyberdefense.

How did Estonia turn into a digital pioneer and how could its model be implemented at European level?

We will have the pleasure to discuss about this with MEP Kaja Kallas, who has been rapporteur on the report on “Towards a Digital Single Market Act”, during our traditional Thursday breakfast, on October 26.

This event is part of the “Days of Estonia”, a three-day initiative organised with the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the Council of Europe to promote the political engagement, the history and the culture of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

To confirm your participation, please register at: contact@ape-europa.eu.

 


DEBATE European Defence Union. The end of soft power- 25 October, 7 30 pmDebate “European Defence Union: The end of soft power?”

After years of languishing in the long grass, the process of European defence cooperation has recently been kicked into top gear. Brexit, Donald Trump repeatedly calling into question US commitment to NATO and Emmanuel Macron’s landslide victory in the French presidential election have all led EU member states to start discussing the need to rethink the pillars of their common security.

What is the way forward to put more union in our defence?

And what use would the EU make of its more efficient military capacity?

We will discuss about these and other issues related to the topic during “European Defence Union: The end of soft power?”, a debate that will take place on Wednesday 25 October, starting at 7:30 pm, in the villa of our association.

For this occasion, our guest speakers will be MEPs Urmas Paet (ALDE), rapporteur for the European Defence Union report, and Tamás Meszerics (Greens), shadow rapporteur for the same report. After a brief intervention of the two speakers, the audience will be invited to take the floor and participate actively, with question and comments, to this challenging debate.

At the end of the discussion, all the participants will be invited for a cocktail in the cellar of our association.

This event is part of the “Days of Estonia”, a three-day initiative organised by the European Parliamentary Association and the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the Council of Europe to promote the political engagement, the history and the culture of the country currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

To confirm your participation, please register at: contact@ape-europa.eu.


OPENING celebration Days of EstoniaDays of Estonia – Opening ceremony

Since the beginning of July, Estonia took the reins of the Council of the European Union, with its historic first presidency of this institution.

What are the priorities of the Estonian presidency and how did this country manage to be at the forefront of innovation and digitalisation?

We will discuss about these and many other issues during our Days of Estonia, a three-day initiative organised with the Estonian Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe to celebrate the history, the culture and the political engagement of the country currently holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

We will start on Monday 23 October, with a celebration open to the public.

A special program is waiting for our guests.

The evening will begin with the screening of the film “The singing Revolution”, a documentary film created by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty about the nonviolent revolution in Estonia in which hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly between 1986 and 1991, in an effort to end decades of Soviet occupation. The Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam, who contributed to the realisation of the film, will also be there to provide his insights into that dramatic period of the Estonian history.

During the evening, our guests will also have the opportunity to visit the exhibition “The wild side of Estonian landscapes”, which will help you to discover the many beauties of Estonian nature.

And then, at the end of the film screening, participants will have the occasion to experience the culinary culture of Estonia, with a cocktail with traditional Estonian food and drinks.

To confirm your participation, please write at: contact@ape-europa.eu


BREAKFAST Labour Reform in France. What impact on SMEs - Thursday 5 October 2017Breakfast with Vanessa Wagner, Secretary General of the French building federation of Bas-Rhin

The French government is moving rapidly to reform its country’s labour laws.

What is the content of the new proposals and how could they impact on the French economic system?

We will discuss about it during our next breakfast on the topic “Labour Reform in France: What impact on SMEs?”, which will take place on Thursday 5 October, starting at 8 am, in our villa.

Our guest speaker will be an expert in this field: Ms Vanessa WagnerSecretary General of the French building federation of Bas-Rhin, Secretary General of the National Federation of SMEs operating in the metallurgy sector and regional councillor for the region “Grand-Est”.

Ms Wagner will outline the pillars of this new reform and discuss with you its potential effects for small and medium enterprises.

For more information on the organisation of the event write at: contact@ape-europa.eu 


DINNER DEBATE What is the future for EU-Russia relations - 4 October 2017Dinner Debate “What is the future for EU-Russia relations?”

Since 2014 EU-Russia relations entered a difficult phase, after the aggression of Russia in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

The EU reacted by imposing sanctions against Russia, while Russia retaliated with counter-sanctions. However, economic ties between the two sides remain close.

In a global context characterized by rising uncertainty, should the EU transform its Russia’s policy? And, if yes, in which policy areas is it worthwhile for the EU to pursue cooperation with Russia? And again, should the EU maintain the original linkage of sanctions removal with Russia’s actions in Ukraine?

We will try to answer these questions during our dinner debate “What is the future for EU-Russia relations?”, which will take place on Wednesday 4 October, starting at 8 pm, in the villa of our association.

Four main experts in this field will intervene as guest speakers. They are:  MEP Othmar Karas, President of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, MEP Eugen Freund, Shadow Rapporteur of the report on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties, Gabriel Galice, President of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute, and Maxime Lefebvre, professor, diplomat and former Permanent Representative of France to the OSCE.

This informal dinner debate is specially meant for MEPs and other members of the APE to provide them with an opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue on EU-Russia relations. That is why, after the brief introductory interventions of our guest speakers, the floor will be opened to informal discussion among the MEPs who will decide to participate.

Olivier Mirguet, journalist of the French newspaper La Tribune, will moderate the event.

To confirm your participation, please, write at: contact@ape-europa.eu.


Breakfast with the President of the European Campus - 14 September 2017 8 amBreakfast with the President of the European Campus

After the summer break, the European Parliamentary Association is back with its traditional Thursday breakfast, on September 14, beginning at 8 am.

For this occasion, the members of our association will have the pleasure to meet Hans-Jochen Schiewer, President of the European Campus and Rector of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau.

Professor Schiewer will present the European Campus, a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation aimed at creating “the first European University”, which brings together the Universities of Basel, Freiburg, Haute-Alsace, and Strasbourg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

By establishing the European Campus, the five universities aim to take cross-border cooperation in research and teaching to a new level in order to gain a key advantage in the international competition for the best minds and ideas.

With the expertise and potential of 15,000 researchers and 11,000 PhD-candidates as well as 115,000 students, the European Campus expands into a science and research area without walls and borders and with an international reach.

Here you can learn more about the European campus.

To confirm your participation, please write at: contact@ape-europa.eu.


Der deutsch-französische Motor nach der Wahl in Deutschland

EINLADUNG Der deutsch-französische Motor nach der Wahl in Deutschland 13 September 2017

Die Europäische Parlamentarische Gesellschaft lädt euch, zusammen mit den Jungen Europäische Föderalisten von Straßburg und Baden-Württemberg und der Europäischen Bewegung, zur Debatte „Der deutsch-französische Motor nach der Wahl in Deutschland“ ein.

Die Veranstaltung findet am Mittwoch, den 13. September von 19:30 bis 21:00 Uhr, in der Villa der Europäischen Parlamentarischen Gesellschaft (76 allée de la Robertsau, Straßburg) statt.

Was bedeutet die Bundestagswahl für die EU und Frankreich? Was sagen die Programme der verschiedenen Parteien zum Thema Europa? Welche Rolle könnte der deutsch-französische Motor nach der Wahl spielen?

Norbert Lins (MdEP, CDU), Tiemo Wölken (MdEP, SPD), Gesine Meissner (MdEP, FDP) und Thomas Händel (MdEP, Die Linke) werden über diese Fragen diskutieren. Co-Protagonisten des Abends sind die Jungen Europäische Föderalisten von Straßburg und Baden-Württemberg, die als Moderatoren durch den ersten Teil der Debatte führen werden.

Danach geht das Wort an das Publikum, damit eine informelle Debatte entstehen kann.

Am Ende der Debatte, um 21:00 Uhr, kann bei einem Umtrunk weiter diskutiert werden.

Anmeldung bei: contact@ape-europa.eu


BREAKFAST with the President of the ECHR - 15 June 2017Breakfast with the President of the ECHR

Strasbourg is undeniably the European capital of human rights. While, on the one side, the European Court of Human Rights oversees the correct application of human rights in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, on the other side, the European Parliament, through a specific subcommittee, makes sure that human rights protection remains at the forefront of the European agenda.

In order to foster the informal dialogue between these two institutions, the European Parliamentary Association decided to invite to its next working breakfast, on Thursday 15 June, Guido Raimondi, President of the European Court of Human Rights.

Our members will have the opportunity to question him about the activity European Court of Human Rights and discuss the common challenges faced by the two European institutions.

Guido Raimondi is President of the European Court of Human Rights since November 2015. Previously, he has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights and, prior to that, he has been a member of the Italian Court of Cassation. Under his supervision, the Court monitors respect for the human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.

This event was organised with the support of the Amicale du Personnel du Conseil de l’Europe.

For more information about the organisation of the event, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat.


Presentation of the new tram line Strasbourg – Kehl

PRESENTATION of the new tram line Strasbourg - Kehl, 14 June 2017

At the end of April, the tram line Strasbourg – Kehl rose from its ashes. 72 years after the end of World War II, the city of Strasbourg and the one of Kehl are once again connected by a tram line, which is a symbol of free circulation in a Europe without borders.

The European Parliamentary Association decided to celebrate this important occasion by organising for its members an exclusive presentation of the new tram line. On Wednesday 14 June, our members will have the pleasure to take a specially reserved tram from Strasbourg to Kehl and discover how the new tram connection was conceived. At the end of the journey, a cocktail at the beautiful Villa Schmidt in Kehl will be waiting for them.

This event is organised in partnership with the City of Strasbourg and the one of Kehl and will see the participation of Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg, and Toni Vetrano, Mayor of Kehl.

For more information about the organisation of the event, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat.


BREAKFAST - Rule of Law Facing Terrorism, 18.05.17Breakfast with Ghislain Benhessa, author of the book “Rule of Law Facing Terrorism”

Since January 2015, France and the rest of Europe have been hit by a wave of terror and are facing the same challenges of the US after 9/11.

France reacted by introducing the so called “état d’urgence”. Soldiers were and still are patrolling the streets, police raids have been conducted day and night throughout France, numerous arrests were made and even more people set under house arrest.

Was this reaction effective?
Has France to reinforce security at the expense of freedoms? To detain the blacklisted ones? To introduce exceptional measures to prevent new attacks?
And what role could the European Union play to prevent terrorist attacks?

We will try to answer these questions during our next Thursday breakfast, on 18 May, starting at 8 am, in our villa.

Ghislain_Benhessa
Ghislain Benhessa

For this occasion, the French lawyer Ghislain Benhessa, PhD, will present the content of his book “Rule of Law Facing Terrorism: Should we follow the American example?”, where he analyses the action of legal councils from Bush and Obama administrations and describes the stakes of this complex debate, where law and moral requirements face political and war ones.

For those who understand French, here you can find an interview of Ghislain Benhessa appeared on the French Channel BFM TV and here another one appeared on Europe1.

For more information, please contact our General Secretariat.


DINNER DEBATE - 17 May 2017 StrasbourgDinner Debate “European Defence Union: More Union in Our Defence?”

Europe is facing an increasingly dangerous mix of security threats. The deterioration of the conflict in Syria, widespread turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa and Russia’s renewed military activism are creating instability at European external borders.

These international threats, together with the internal menace of terrorism, generate fear and uncertainty in EU Member States. Throughout the continent, the shortcomings of the insufficient level of cooperation on intelligence, police, justice and defence are becoming more and more evident to public opinion.

In the last months, two main events gave new impetus to the process of European integration in the fields of defense and security. On the one hand, with the decision of Britain to invoke Article 50 on 29 March 2017, one of the largest defence spenders in the European Union is about to leave. Indeed, almost 25% of EU defence expenditure currently comes from the UK, and Britain has historically obstructed any moves towards a common EU military. On the other hand, US President Donald Trump repeatedly called into question the commitment of his country to NATO and this led Members States to start a discussion on the necessity of rethinking the pillars of our common security.

What is the way forward in the pursuit of a common European defense? Is it time for an EU common army? How, when and for what purpose should this army be used?

On Wednesday 17 May, we will ask Members of the European Parliament from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their position on these questions.

MEPs will be invited to the European Parliamentary Association to informally discuss with four leading experts on European security and defense. These are: MEP Michael Gahler, EPP Group Spokesperson on Security and Defence, MEP Eva Kaili, Chair of the EP Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, MEP Klaus Buchner, Member of the subcommittee on Security and Defense and Brigadier General Franz Pfrengle of the EUROCORPS, former Mission Commander for the EU Training Mission in Mali.

Olivier Mirguet, correspondent of the French newspaper La Tribune (http://www.latribune.fr/), will moderate the debate.

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Michael Gahler (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, EPP) is Member of the European Parliament since 1999. Previously, he served in the diplomatic service under ministers Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Klaus Kinkel and Joschka Fischer.

In the current legislature, Gahler is chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and of the Delegation for relations with South Africa. He is substitute in the Committee on Transport and Tourism and in the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Gahler is EPP Group spokesperson on Security and Defence, chair of the Kangaroo Group and member of the European Parliament’s Sky and Space Intergroup.

He is also Vice-President of the European Parliamentary Association.

EL S&DEva Kaili (Panhellenic Socialist Movement – Olive Tree, S&D) seats in the European Parliament since 2014, where she is member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, of the Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion and chair of the Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. She is also substitute in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, in the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, in the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and in the Delegation for relations with the United States.

Previously, she has been member of the Hellenic Parliament for the first district of Thessaloniki since 2009. While holding this post, she has been, among other things, member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the Committee for National Defense and Foreign Affairs.

DEKlaus Buchner (Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) is Member of the European Parliament since 2014. He is physicist and university professor and he has been chair of his party from 2003 to 2010.

As MEP, he is currently member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and of the Delegation for relations with Iran.

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PfrengleFranz Xaver Pfrengle is Brigadier General at the EUROCORPS. Graduate engineer, he joined the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) in 1975. He has been Commander of the German Army Officer School (2008-2011), Chief of Staff Operations at the EUROCORPS (since 2015) and Mission Commander of the EU Training Mission in Mali (in 2015).

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For more information about the organisation of the event, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat


Dinner Debate - 5 April 2017Dinner debate “Europe after the elections in France and Germany”

The next 12 months, with elections in France and Germany, could remake the European Union. Since a long time, presidential races in these two Member States have not been so unpredictable and, according to their result, they could impress different types of turning points to the process of European integration.

What will be the impact on Europe of the elections in France and Germany? What are the different scenarios?

The APE decided to invite the Members of the European Parliament and the diplomats of the Council of Europe for an informal dinner debate, on Wednesday 5 April at 8 pm, to discuss these and other questions with two prestigious guest speakers coming from Berlin and Paris. These are Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Member of the German Bundestag, where he holds the post of Chairman of the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, and Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ (Parti socialiste), Member of the French National Assembly, where he is Chairman of the Franco-German Friendship Group.

As for our previous debates, the moderator will be Daniel Köster, spokesperson of the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

The organisation of this event would have not been possible without the support of the German Parliamentary Association, with which the APE has established a solid and fruitful cooperation and which will be represented by its Internal Auditor, Gunther Krichbaum, and its Secretary General, Bernd Wichterich.


Lancement Journées de Malte - 3 avril 2017Days of Malta

The Maltese Presidency has reached the halfway point in a very symbolic moment for the European Union, i.e. the 60th of the Treaties of Rome. Europe is at a turning point and this is made clear by the priorities that Malta has established for its six-moth term of Presidency of the Council of the European Union.  Migration, the Single Market, Security, Social Inclusion, Europe’s Neighborhood, and Maritime Policy, on the one hand, reflect some of the biggest challenges that are facing the European Union and, on the other hand, bring forward some especially important issues for Member States that are on the external border of the Union.

For several years now, the European Parliamentary Association has been striving to promote the history, the culture and the political activity of the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This will be also the case with the Maltese Presidency, which will find place in our program for the plenary session of April with two events.

On Monday 3 April, starting at 8 am, MEPs and their assistants, diplomats of the Council of Europe and members of the civil society of Strasbourg will all be invited to the opening event of our “Days of Malta”, an initiative organised in collaboration with the Permanent Representation of Malta to the Council of Europe. For this occasion, our guests will have the pleasure to visit the exhibition “Malta – 7000 years of history” and watch the documentary “Malta: Cruise in the Land of the Knights”.

The projection of the film will be followed by a cocktail with Maltese specialties and by a spirits tasting offered by our sponsor, the renowned Alsation distillery “Massenez”.

Breakfast with Ambassador Joseph FillettiTo participate to this event, contact our general secretariat at: contact@ape-europa.eu or + 33 (0)3 88 25 19 49.

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The Days of Malta will then continue on Thursday, with a breakfast with Ambassador Joseph Filletti, Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe, who will come to our association to present our members with a Maltese perspective on Southern European Neighborhood Policy. Neighborhood policy is one of the six priorities of the Maltese Presidency. Countries bordering the Southern Mediterranean are indeed facing serious challenges, including armed conflict, terrorism, political instability and radicalisation. That is why the Maltese Presidency, aware of the potential ripple effects of instability beyond Europe’s borders, is focusing EU engagement on the stabilisation of its neighborhood.


Wednesday 15 March 2017 - St. Patrick's Day PartySt. Patrick’s Day Party

On Wednesday 15 March 2017, starting at 8 pm, the European Parliamentary Association will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, with few days in advance.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in almost every country in Europe and it represents an important occasion to commemorate the ongoing social, economic, cultural, democratic, religious and scientific contribution of Ireland to Europe over many centuries.

This is the second year that APE organises this kind of event, whose aim is to offer to the Members of the European Parliament, to their assistants and to the members of the civil society an opportunity to discover national traditions and to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, overcoming national and political barriers.

Also this year, we will have the pleasure to  welcome Ms Mairead McGuinness, Vice-president of the European Parliament, as keynote speaker. Her intervention will be followed by the greetings of Ambassador Keith McBean, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the Council of Europe and member of our association.

Many surprises are waiting for our guests. They will enjoy an unforgettable evening with traditional Irish food, Irish music and special St. Patrick’s Day drinks, prepared for this occasion by our partner, the renowned Alsatian distillery “Massenez”.

Every participant will receive some special gifts, especially intended to immerse him or her in the theme of the evening, and the luckiest ones will go home with one of the amazing prizes of our special lottery, sponsored by our partner “Galeries Lafayette Strasbourg”.

For more information, please contact our General Secretariat.

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St. Patrick’s Day Afterwork 2016: Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and Herbert Dorfmann, President of the APE

invitation_breakfast_apeBreakfast with Monsignor Jean-Pierre Grallet, Archbishop of Strasbourg

Religion and, in particular, Christianity played a significant role in the establishment and development of the European project.

However, although today the majority of European citizens still describes itself as Christian, only 51% of them believe that God actually exists (Eurobarometer 341, Page 204). Religion and faith are losing ground in Europe: Younger generations believe less and less in God, especially in cities, and churches regret poorer attendance at their services.

Nevertheless, while facing the challenges hitting our continent and unity, European policy makers constantly refer to the Christian roots of European values. In this regard, discussions about the importance of freedom of religion and of Christian principles are held quite frequently and put the question of faith back into the spotlight. But what will be the role of the churches in the years to come, and particularly of the Catholic Church, which is still the biggest religious community in Europe? And how can religious institutions help to solve the crises in Europe?

To debate this topic, the European Parliamentary Association has invited Mgr. Jean-Pierre Grallet, who is archbishop of Strasbourg since 2007, to its traditional breakfast meeting on 16 February 2017 from 8 am to 9 am.

The bishop was ordained as priest in 1969, after studying Catholic theology and history in Nancy. Being a former religion teacher and student priest in Strasbourg and Metz, Mgr. Grallet has a lot of experience with the relevance of faith in life of Europeans, especially of young people. Since he is also the French member of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), the archbishop surely will lift the debate onto the European level, too.

The COMECE is a Commission made up of Catholic Bishops who are delegated from the national Bishops’ conferences of the 28 countries of the European Union. The aim of the Commission is to monitor the policy making of the EU and form a dialogue with its institutions to present to the politicians and the public the current concerns and opinions of the Catholic Church.

Please contact our General Secretariat for more information.


ape-new-years-concertNew Year’s Concert 2017

On Monday 16 January, the European Parliamentary Association will host its traditional New Year’s Concert to wish its members and its friends a happy new year 2017. The students of the Superior Academy of Music of Strasbourg, directed by the Austrian conductor Theodor Guschlbauer, will entertain our guests for around an hour with some excerpts of Krumpholtz, Prokofiev, Thomas, Parish-Alvars, Ravel, Debussy, Brahms.

THE SUPERIOR ACADEMY OF MUSIC OF STRASBOURG – The Academy constitutes the music department of the Haute École des Arts du Rhin (HEAR), a pole of excellence on the French and international scene for the preparation of enlightened musicians and visual artists.
The Academy regroups students of more than 30 different nationalities and counts among its professors several artists that are renowned on the French and international musical scene. During their training, the students of the Superior Academy have the opportunity to collaborate with several Alsatian prestigious musical institutions, as the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Opéra du Rhin”, the “Parlement de musique”, the Jazzdor festival and many others.

THEODOR GUSCHLBAUER – He is an Austrian conductor and has directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the ‘Gewandhaus Orchestra’ of Leipzig, the Paris Orchestra, the “Scala Orchestra” in Milan, the RAI Orchestra of Turin and the London Symphonic Orchestra.
From 1969 to 1975 he was musical director of the “Opéra de Lyon”.
From 1983 to 1997, he has been chief conductor of the Philarmonic Orchestra of Strasbourg.

The concert will start at 8 pm and will be followed by a cocktail with Alsatian specialties. For more information, contact our general secretariat (+33(0)3 88 25 19 49 or contact@ape.europa.eu).

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New Year’s Concert 2016: Herbert Dorfmann, MEP and President of the APE, with the students of the Superior Academy of Music of Strasbourg

APE Breakfast 19 January 2017.pngBreakfast with Wojciech Sawicki, Secretary General of the PACE

On Thursday 19 November, the European Parliamentary Association will have the pleasure to welcome Mr. Wojciech Sawicki, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Mr. Sawicki will intervene during our traditional Thursday morning breakfast to present the priorities of the PACE for 2017.

WHO IS WOJCIECH SAWICKI? – He heads the secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 2010. He is currently serving his second term, as he was re-elected in September 2015 for other five years.

For the period 1990-1996 he was Secretary General of the Polish Senate, the first to hold this post after the collapse of communism, and, performing this function, he played a leading role in helping to re-establish democracy in Poland.

THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe plays a fundamental role in the activity of the Council of Europe, i.e. the international organisation that is based in Strasbourg and that, since 1949, is promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. The PACE defines itself the “democratic conscience of Greater Europe”.

It brings together 324 deputies from the parliaments of the Council of Europe’s 47 member states and, therefore, speaks on behalf of 800 million Europeans.

The Assembly holds government to account over their human rights records, and presses states to achieve and maintain democratic standards, both in Europe and in neighboring regions. In this regard, governments must give a collective reply to the text adopted by the Assembly.

Moreover, the PACE plays a crucial role in the improvement of Europe’s laws and practices, as it acts a “motor” Council of Europe and as a guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, which originated in the Assembly in 1950.

According to its President, Predro Agramunt, the PACE is currently facing four existential challenges: transnational terrorism, the refugee crisis, conflicts that remain unresolved – like in Ukraine or Transnistria, the rising of nationalism and the consequent erosion of democratic principles and human rights.

Participation to the breakfast is open to the members of our association and to their collaborators. The breakfast will begin at 8 am. For more information, do not hesitate to contact our general secretariat (+33(0)3 88 25 19 49 or contact@ape-europa.eu).