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Monday 06 July 2015

Successful launch of the 1st “MEB European Debate” with Prof. Joachim Bitterlich organized by the MEB students

"Given the on-going debate throughout Europe on the purpose and future of the European Union, the ESCP Europe students of the Master in European Business (MEB) on May 21st launched the "MEB European Debate".

With the motivation to address both shortcomings and advantages of European integration, the MEB students were proud to welcome former high-level diplomat Prof. Joachim Bitterlich as their distinguished first guest speaker in Paris.

Mr. Bitterlich shared his long diplomatic experience and provided a sort of "State of the Union" presentation about the current challenges the EU is facing. It became clear that the EU is in the need of a clear “Business Plan” in order to tackle the current existential crisis. Mr. Bitterlich elaborated on the fact that despite popular belief the Euro currency is not the origin of the crisis. As a matter of fact we are actually dealing with a banking crisis and a crisis of national politics which is reinforced by a lack of public confidence in governments. As a result of the crisis the future of the EU, which is a true success story, is put to jeopardy and its achievements of peace, stability and prosperity are too often quickly forgotten. In order to move ahead the EU hence needs political leadership and a compass to steer through difficult waters.

After an in-depth analysis of the various issues, students engaged in a lively debate with Mr. Bitterlich. It became clear that the EU is indeed the key framework in order to maintain and improve our social and economic systems. Students gained a better understanding of the current challenges and of the future steps that need to be taken. As a consequence students called for the permanent establishment of the "MEB European Debate" in the ESCP Europe Master in European Business (MEB) programme in order to maintain this important dialogue on Europe."

Benjamin Oppermann (MEB 2015)

Mr. Bitterlich served over 30 years in diplomacy, politics and business. He held several diplomatic positions in Bonn, Algiers, Brussels, later as German Ambassador to NATO and Spain. He was a key advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl in European, International and security policy  affairs. After his diplomatic career he worked at Veolia Environnement Paris as an Executive Vice President International Affairs and Chairman for Germany. Today he is member of supervisory and advisory boards in public affairs and private business.

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