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Ambassador of France to present the second annual address on the state of the European Union

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Francois Bujon de l'Estang, the ambassador of France to the United States, will visit the University of Illinois Oct. 27 to present the campus's second annual address on the state of the European Union.

The ambassador's speech, at 11 a.m. in Rooms A, B and C of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana, is the centerpiece event of European Union Day, hosted by the UI's European Union Center and International Programs and Studies (IPS).

Bujon de l'Estang's presentation, on "The Agenda of the French Presidency," is free and open to the public. France holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union through Dec. 31, 2000 -- the 11th time it has been the presiding nation of the E.U. since the beginning of the European integration.

According to Buchon de l'Estang, France's objectives during its presidency include continuing to promote economic modernization among E.U. countries, strengthening the European social model, and working to build a Europe that is responsive to the concerns of its citizens, particularly in such areas as domestic security and food safety.

A treaty-based institutional framework for the construction of a unified Europe, the E.U. comprises 15 nations: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Buchon de l'Estang has been ambassador to the United States since 1995. He entered foreign diplomatic service in 1969 as second, then first, secretary to the United States, later moving to a post in the French Embassy in London.

Subsequent assignments included serving as adviser on international affairs for energy in the Ministry of Industry, director of international relations for the Atomic Energy Commissariat, French representative on the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and ambassador to Mexico and Canada.

Buchon de l'Estang also has substantial private-sector experience in the field of atomic energy, and is the founder of COGEMA Inc. He is president of the Harvard Business School-France, a knight in the Order of the Legion of Honor and an officer of the National Order of Merit.

The UI's E.U. Center is directed by Larry Neal, a professor of economics. The UI was one of 10 universities nationwide that received grants in 1998 from the Delegation of the European Commission, based in Washington, D.C., to establish centers for the study of the European Union and E.U.-U.S. relations.

Administered by IPS, the UI center includes faculty members from the colleges of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Commerce and Business Administration; Communications; Engineering; Fine and Applied Arts; Law; and Liberal Arts and Sciences.