Britain, Business & Europe 2016 Series: Why do we British find the EU so hard to swallow and does it matter to business?

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Date: 20 January 2016
Venue: UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Frenchay Campus
Time: Reception: 18:00 - Lecture: 18:30 - Networking and Supper: 19:30

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As part of a series of special events during 2016 discussing Britain, Business and Europe, Sir Stephen Wall, the former foreign policy advisor to John Major and Tony Blair, sets out his thoughts on Britain's often difficult relationship with Europe and why it matters to British business and the UK economy.

In the half century since the British Government first applied to join the European Community, British membership has been a matter of ceaseless controversy. Why? And what implications does this have on our long term economic interest and the UK's global influence?

Sir Stephen will discuss why the British find the EU so hard to swallow and why the idea of 'leaving Europe' dominates political discussion in a way that is unique among European nations. The United Kingdom is the only Member State ever to have had a referendum on whether to stay in only two years after joining. Why are we now the only Member State which seriously contemplates leaving? Why do other Member States think we treat them less as partners than as adversaries? What risks does this pose to our economy and global influence?

This year is likely to see a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union. Companies across the South West will find themselves part of a passionate debate with potentially far reaching consequences for the environment in which they do business. Sir Stephen's insider and long term view will shed light on the dilemma facing voters, businesses and politicians and help stimulate debate on what the referendum vote means for the UK.

This event is in collaboration with Business West.

Programme

  • 18:00 - Registration and refreshments
  • 18:30 - Lecture
  • 19:30 - Networking and supper

Biography

Sir Stephen Wall was for 35 years a member of the British Diplomatic Service. He worked closely with five British Foreign Secretaries and was Foreign Policy Adviser to Prime Minister John Major.

His European experience includes five years as Head of the Foreign Office European Department; two years as Britain's Ambassador to Portugal; five years as UK Permanent Representative to the EU and four years as EU adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of the European Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. His book on Britain's EU policy, 'A Stranger in Europe', was published in 2008. He has written The Official History of Britain and the European Community, 1963-1975, published in July 2012.

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About the Bristol Distinguished Address Series

The Bristol Distinguished Address Series provides a unique opportunity to hear about the challenges, issues and decisions being made at the highest level of strategic leadership. The series is delivered by the Bristol Business School in partnership with ACCA, Bristol City Council, Bristol Junior Chamber, Bristol Post, Business West, CBI, CMI, FSB, IoD, ICAEW and the West of England LEP.

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Podcasts

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Accessibility

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Cost: Free
Contact: Corporate Relations Service
Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 86716
E-mail: Events@uwe.ac.uk

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