International Visitors Programme - Marseille 2011

France, Marseille, 13008, Palais des Congrès, Rond-point du Prado
Thursday, December 08 2011 / 08:30

As an integral part of the European People's Party 2011 Congress in Marseille, the International Visitors Programme aimed at bringing together prominent personalities and world-class thinkers of the EPP network from around the world to address pressing issues on the European and global agendas, such as job creation in times of austerity, as well as social, fiscal and economic integration. The Programme opened with an exclusive breakfast conversation with Tim Pawlenty, a former two-term Governor of Minnesota and a former candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination for President of the United States. In his remarks, Mr Pawlenty briefed the audience on the current state of transatlantic relations, which he argued are too focused on finance. He also provided an overview of world affairs seen from a republican perspective, pointed to a lack of coherence in US and European policy towards the Arab world; according to Mr Pawlenty, the West's history of supporting autocrats has been unfortunate, but it is necessary to continue Western engagement in the Middle East.

Second panel discussions followed, with the first one focusing on economic, fiscal and social integration, and featuring the Prime Minister of Finland, Jyrki Katainen and Viktor Orbán , the Hungarian Prime Minister. Panelists stressed the need to focus on the EU social model and that completion of the Single Market and added that strict, binding oversight should be imposed in order to deal with the crisis. The speakers noted that the pressure to change the treaties was mounting, while some argued against it due to the complexity of the process; despite the different points of view, speakers concluded that the EU in general and the eurozone especially are indeed heading towards more economic, fiscal and social integration. The second panel focused on the decreasing competitiveness of the European economy and ways to address this alarming trend. The panel featured Dominique Cerutti, President and Deputy CEO of NYSE Euronext, Lucinda Creighton, Ireland's Minister of State for European Affairs, Jacek Rostowski, Polish Minister of Finance and Gunnar Hökmark, MEP.