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April 19: “EU Enlargement — Opportunity or Threat? The View from Luxembourg during its EU Presidency”

When: Tuesday, April 19 — Social Hour 5:30-6:15; Dinner and talk 6:15-8:30

Where: Omni Severin Hotel Downtown, Fisher Ballroom, 40 W. Jackson Pl. Indianapolis

Arlette Conzemius, Ambassador of Luxembourg to the US; and Robert Biwer, Consul-General of Luxembourg to the US

The decision-making structure of the European Union is poorly understood by Americans, but is very important. The Council of the European Union is the Union's main decision-making institution. It consists of the ministers of the fifteen Member States responsible for the area of activity on the agenda: foreign affairs, agriculture, industry, transport or whatever. Despite the existence of these different configurations depending on the area of activity, the Council is nonetheless a single institution. Every six months the Presidency of the Council rotates between the Member States. The country that holds the Presidency presides over the meetings of the Council, which are held in Brussels or in Luxembourg, and organizes meetings (informal or not) on its own territory. The Presidency of the Council plays an essential role in steering the decision-making process in political and legislative matters. In the same manner, all the working groups (of government officials), whose task it is to prepare the ministerial meetings, are presided over by the country which holds the Presidency. The president of the Council is also responsible for representing it at the other European institutions, such as the European Parliament and the European Commission. Furthermore, the Member State which holds the Presidency represents the Union on the international stage, in close cooperation with the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, and the European Commission. This means that tiny Luxembourg, which holds the Presidency through the end of July, is a major player in EU decision making.

The Luxembourgian Ambassador and Consul-General to the US should provide an excellent insight into how their country sees Europe’s challenges. Arlette Conzemius became ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States on Sept. 10, 1998 after spending five years as ambassador and permanent representative of Luxembourg to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Before that position, she was deputy chief of mission at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington, D.C., from 1989 to 1993. From 1983 to 1988, Ambassador Conzemius was the permanent representative of Luxembourg to the European Communities in Brussels, Belgium. She began her diplomatic career in 1981 as directorate for international economic relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was educated at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva from 1974 to 1978, and then attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she received her master of arts degree.

WTC Members: $30; non-members: $35; students: $20. See registration form for details, phone 317-261-0918, or e-mail adminwtc@worldtradeclubofindiana.org

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