by Alexandra Papaisidorou*
The European Business Summit’s 2019 edition took place on 6th and 7th May in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium, welcoming 1620 participants, 185 high-level speakers and 55 sessions moderated by journalists from CNN, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Welle and Euronews, among others.
The theme, “Tomorrow’s Europe – inclusive, innovative, interconnected”, sought to provide answers to the challenges and opportunities faced by the European continent and the European Union project. With the European elections around the corner, this year’s edition also debated the priorities for the next European Commission.
The EBS programme featured a variety of session formats, highlighting topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Brexit (explained by Chatham House), the Yellow Vests movement, the sustainable business transformation, The Belt and Road Initiative, EU-Africa relations, the platform economy, innovation, climate change, fake news and skills at work. EBS also featured an extensive series of debates on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with over 200 representatives from CSR Europe.
The lead-up to the upcoming European elections was featured in two important debates at EBS. One session gathered representatives from influential political parties in Europe (EPP, ALDE and the Greens) responsible for the EU elections campaigns. In another session, business experts discussed the election during the high-level debate entitled: Europe is Voting – Make it Your Business.
Each year, EBS launches an official publication linked to the theme of the event. The 2019 publication, entitled Tomorrow’s Europe: A collection of essays by global women leaders, features the visions of many inspiring global women leaders.
The impressive list of contributors representing business and politics include: Ilham Kadri (CEO, Solvay), Elzbieta Bienkowska (EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), Dominique Leroy (CEO, Proximus Group), Maria Montero Cuadrado (Minister of Finance, Spain), Cecilia Malmstrom (EU Commissioner for Trade), Ashild Hanne Larsen (CIO & SVP, Corporate IT, Equinor), Pauline Engelberts (Global Chief Operations Officer, ABN AMRO Clearing Bank) and Vera Jourova (EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality).
To read the full series of essays, click here to download the publication.
The European Business Summit also hosted the 2nd edition of the European Leadership Awards with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in attendance. This prestigious and reputable awards ceremony recognizes the outstanding achievement of global leaders shaping Tomorrow’s Europe in the areas of business, politics, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Jean-Claude Juncker received the European Leader of the Year Award. This award recognizes the impact he has had on the European Commission and the European Union project. Accepting the award, the EU Commission President said that he was “taking this award in the name of the Commission, our performance is as a collective”. Watch the full broadcast and President Juncker’s acceptance speech here.
Concluding the event, Arnaud Thysen, Director General at the European Business Summit said: “EBS 2019 gathered again an impressive number of inquisitive minds to address key questions during the Summit. I hope these debates inspired you and helped you to imagine the “Tomorrow’s Europe” we want, at least for the next 5 years”.
*Editor-at-large & PhD candidate of European & International Relations