General Meeting

Speaker: Klaus van der Pas
Klaus van der Pas
Klaus van der Pas
CHÂTEAU MALOU - Allée Pierre Levie 2, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert

Nikolaus van der Pas, had a long career in the European Commission. In the many areas of his activity (inter alia spokesman, EU enlargement, culture & education, employment & social affairs) he has always been fascinated by an apparent contradiction: how come that a highly successful project for peace and prosperity among European countries is often portrayed as complicated, bureaucratic, remote from European citizens, undemocratic, and incapable of acting quickly and efficiently in response to crises. Think of dramas around the Euro, immigration, climate, the rule of law and, lately, Russian aggression. In his presentation to the ISG, he will give us a look behind the scene and try to give an answer to his own question, which might also be your’s: “Can the EU handle today’s critical issues?” He asked us to give you this preliminary warning: "I’ll be objective (warts and all) but am a fervent European, convinced that if the EU didn’t exist, it would be urgent to create it.” 

Nikolaus G. (“Klaus”) van der Pas, born in Munich in 1943, of German nationality, he devoted almost his entire career to European integration. He had many assignments in the European Commission, foreign affairs counsellor for European Commissioner Willy De Clercq and Commission President Jacques Delors. He contributed to strengthening the relations between the EU and neighbouring EFTA countries. After a spell as Chief Spokesman for the European Commission, he started negotiations on the biggest EU enlargement towards Eastern Europe, as well as Cyprus and Malta. Giving the EU also a “cultural face”, he promoted cultural cooperation, exchanges, and dialogue. Until his retirement in June 2009, he was Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Following his retirement, he chaired the EU Commission’s Ad Hoc Ethical Committee, and advised some Brussels think tanks. He’s still active in practical charity work, assisting Street Nurses, an NGO doing admirable work to improve the lot of homeless people in Brussels and Liège.

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