The EWLA 10th Anniversasry Congress was held in Brussels on June 3-4th. A reception was held on Wednesday 2 June at the restautrant La Cahloupe d'Or at the Grand Place in Brussels.
The venue of the Conference was the magnificent and centrally located Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the Europian Union right by the European Parliament. Dr. Angelika Schlunck welcomed all the participants and guests to the historic building. The programme of the Congresse is attached here.
The theme of the Congress was Law as Politics in Societies at Crossroads. EWLA's President Prof. Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir opened the Congress by addressing this theme and saying inter alia:
"Law as politics – in societies at crossroads was the theme chosen for this congress many months ago. We intended to pose a question and designate the need for greater attention to the interplay between these forces – in particular fundamental rights and the market economies and the political atmosphere surrounding these.
How secure are the foundations of modern Europe? Where exactly does our strength to confront the present situation lie.
The sad thing is that the institutions that are supposed to inspire the most trust; the pillars of most societies – the press, political leadership, the corporations are subject to mistrust by the public in many if not most states. We need a dialogue on restoring trust – everywhere – without trust decline is inevitable."
Key speaker of the Conference was Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council. Mr. Rompuy in his speech praised the work of the European Women Lawyers' Association.
It is an honour to address the European Women Lawyers Association on the occasion of your tenth anniversary. I salute the voluntary work that you so generously perform. You bring together women lawyers from across the EU and beyond. You help to improve EU legislation and its application and you promote fundamental rights and equality. This is European cooperation at its best, the civic life that fosters the bond between the Member States. We need experts, and we need them to come together at the European level in organisations such as yours."
Mr Van Rompuy also said: " Gender equality is not a drain on our budgets or a social luxury. It is not something extra. Quite the contrary. Smart businesses have discovered decades ago that they need a diverse workforce in order to be at the forefront of innovation and creativity, to perform. Modern European societies cannot afford not to promote equality. If we deny women the chance to use their talents, we not only deny them the chance to fulfil their potential. We also lose an employee, a taxpayer, a scientist, an artist, a president or indeed a gifted lawyer."
Mr Van Rompuy congratulated EWLA with the achievements during the past ten years and said: " I
know that Europe will continue to benefit from your work in the years to come."
EWLA's President, professor Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir presented Mr Van Rompuy with an engraved Sheaffer pen as a token of EWLAs appreciaton.
After the key note speech there was a panel discussion chaired by Sophia Spiliotopoulos, past vice-president of EWLA with the participation of past presidents of EWLA Elisabeth Kotthaus (née Mueller), Leena Linnainmaa and present President Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir.
9:00-9:30 Welcome by the President of EWLA, Professor Dr. Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir and the Head of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union, Dr. Angelika Schlunck
9:30-10:00 Key note speaker: President of the European Council Mr Herman van Rompuy
10:00-10:30 Panel discussion: 10 years of EWLA achievements and perspectives
Chaired by Sophia Spiliotopoulos, past vice-president of EWLA
Past president of EWLA Leena Linnainmaa
Past president of EWLA Elisabeth Kotthaus
President of EWLA Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir
11:00-11:25 Key note speaker: Vice-President of the European Parliament Ms Diana Wallis
11:25-11:40 Discussion with Ms Wallis
11:40-13:00 Panel discussion:
Women and management in a changing business world
Chaired by Myriam van Varenbergh, Partner, Keuleneer-Storm-Vannest-Van Varenbergh-Verhelst
• Ann de Jaeger, Managing Partner, Executive Learning Partnership
• Mechthilde Maier, Head of Group Diversity Management, Deutsche Telekom
• Anu Sajavaara, Senior Adviser, Confederation of Finnish Industries EK
• Christel Verschaeren, Director, IBM Belgium NV
15:00 - 17:00 Parallel work shops:
* The influence of globalisation on the changing landscape of human rights protection and politics in Europe
Chaired by Professor Dr. Beate Rudolf, Director of the German Institute for Human Rights
• Tanja Kleinsorge, Council of Europe, Head of Secretariat, Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Assembly
Speakers of the work shop will be announced soon
* The influence of globalisation on financial crisis and risk management
Chaired by Vanessa Williams, partner Rochman Landau
• Marie Donnay, Senior Economist, Directorate Macrofinancial Stability, DG ECFIN
• Maire Laitinen, Head of Segment / B2B, Fondia Finland
• Sibylle Spitzer, Deputy General Counsel, Recticel Belgium
• Corinna Ullrich, Senior Policy Officer, European Commission, DG MARKT
* The influence of globalisation on the position of women in the labour market
Chaired by Dr. Daniela Bankier, Head of unit Equality between women and men, Euro pean Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs, Equal Opportunities
• Catelene Passchier, Confederal Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
• Edith Bauer, MEP, member of Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)
• Minna Etu-Seppälä, BUSINESSEUROPE
• Béatrice Castellane, Business Lawyer (Corporate Law and Arbitration)
Work shops will have a coffee break
17:00 – 17:30 Setting up EWLA working groups (for EWLA members only)
EWLA Working Group on Fundamental Rights
EWLA Working Group on Gender Equality
EWLA Working Group on Corporate and Business Matters
19:30 Gala dinner at Club de Warande in the Royal district of Brussels
Rue Zinner 1, 1000 Brussels
Friday 4 June
9:00- 9:45 Speech on the impact of new social media by Ben Caudron
9:45 -11:00 Panel discussion: Gender equality on the European agenda
• Capitolina Díaz Martínez, Director General of Equality in Employment, Equality Ministry of Spain
• Belinda Pyke, Director, European Commission, DG Employment
• A member of the European Parliament (tbc)
Other panelists will be announced soon
11:30-13:00 Parallel work shops
* Corporate governance and gender diversity
Chaired by Dace L. Luters-Thuemmel, MELS, Partner, Heitmann Vermeer Kolle, Duesseldorf/Germany and Sikora & Partners, Riga/Latvia
• Livia Aliberti Amidani, Founder, Aliberti Governance Advisors
• Dominique de La Garanderie, founding partner, La Garanderie & Partners
• Elin Hurvenes, Founder, Professional Boards Forum (tbc)
• Gabriele C. Klug, City Treasurer, Deutscher Juristinnenbund
• Leena Linnainmaa, Director, Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland
* The influence of globalisation on family law
Chaired by EWLA vice president, Prof. Dr. Regula Kägi-Diener, University of St. Gallen
• Maria del Rosaria Garcia Mariscal, attorney at Law, García- Mariscal International Law Firm
• Dr. Katalin Daskalovics, attorney-at-law, specialized in family law, Budapest
• Susanne Koehler, attorney-at-law, Staab & Kollegen, Dresden
Other speakers of the work shop will be announced soon
13:00- 14:00 Lunch
14:00- 15:00 Closing session, EWLA working-groups and General Assembly of EWLA
15:30 Special guided tour of the tourist attractions of Brussels or of the European Parliament