April 19, 2007
Conference Examines Impact of Central European Nations on EU after Four Years
Speakers include Rockwell Schnabel, former U.S. Ambassador to the EU
LOS ANGELES - Speaking via video, former United States Ambassador to the European Union Rockwell Schnabel told a Korn Convocation Hall audience that the 2004 addition of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the EU, "has been a great success." Schnabel's keynote address was one highlight at the conference "EU Expansion - Three Years Later," presented by UCLA Anderson's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) on Wednesday, April 18, 2007.
The conference examined the mutual economic, political and social impacts of accession and integration of the aforementioned central European nations into the EU. The conference also reviewed some of the EU's history, as the organization celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Among the key international figures in attendance were Tomas Bican, the economic counselor for the Embassy of the Slovak Republic; Martin Dvorak, head of the economic section for the Embassy of the Czech Republic; Frantisek Hudak, the consul general of the Slovak Republic; Martin Weiss, the consul general of Austria; Ivo Mouskourov, the consul general of the Republic of Bulgaria and Michal Urbankowski, the vice-consul for the Republic of Poland.
Unable to attend in person due to commitments in Europe, Rockwell relayed via video that the European economy has enjoyed enormous benefits over the past 50 years. He described the ongoing alliance as "a very successful experiment" and said the European economy is now the largest in the world. The continent's economic power, he added, translates to political power.
"Europe is not like the United States from a military standpoint," he said, noting that military spending is smaller in Europe than the United States. "But Europe is becoming more involved in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Lebanon and becoming more involved in the world scene (overall)."
Schnabel later elaborated on future collaboration between the U.S. and the EU. "We need to work together," he said. "We have a common set of values that we need to try and put out to the world at large."
Hannele Tikkanen, trade counselor, European Commission in Washington, delivered the day's second keynote, speaking specifically about the 2004 EU expansion, calling it "a win-win process for old and new member states."
The day continued with a series of panel discussions, the first dealing with policy and social issues and the second on economic issues.
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