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Ambassador of Luxembourg to U.S. to speak during EU Day April 12 at Illinois

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The state of the European Union will be considered during EU Day activities April 12 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The main attraction will be the annual “State of the European Union Address” at 11 a.m. at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana. This year’s guest speaker will be Arlette Conzemius, ambassador of Luxembourg to the United States. Luxembourg currently holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

The ambassador’s talk is free and open to the public.

Conzemius, who has served as ambassador since September 1998, previously held posts as ambassador and permanent representative of Luxembourg to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. She also has served as deputy chief of mission at the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington D.C., and as permanent representative of Luxembourg to the European Communities in Brussels, Belgium.

Also on the EU Day program this year is a workshop on the challenges posed by the EU constitution and further expansion, from 2:30-4 p.m. in 407 Levis Center. Although geared primarily toward high school students and teachers, the workshop also is free and open to the public.

EU Day is organized each spring by the U. of I.’s European Union Center, one of 10 centers established in 1998 by the European Commission and leading U.S. research universities to promote research, curriculum development and public education on the EU and its relations with the United States. The center also is designated as a National Resource Center in European Union Studies by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kieran Donaghy, a professor of urban and regional planning who serves as the center’s director, said he expects that Conzemius’ address will focus on several issues currently on the EU’s front burners. Among them are negotiations with Turkey and two other states seeking admission to the EU, which now includes 25 member states.

Other topics of consideration, he said, may include:

• “The recently drafted constitution, which would consolidate and rationalize provisions of previous treaties that have shaped the evolution of the supranational institution, and must now be ratified by all member states.

• “The stability and growth pact, which has set compulsory performance measures for the economies of the European Monetary Union – or the eurozone – and is under revision to provide some of the larger struggling economies more latitude in running fiscal deficits in times of recession.”

Donaghy said the ambassador also likely will discuss U.S.-EU relations, particularly recent indications of a thaw following “frosty diplomatic relations between the EU and the U.S. in the first term of the Bush presidency.” Differences and similarities in responses to pressing domestic and international issues – from the Kyoto Treaty on climate change and Iran’s nuclear policy to pensions for aging populations and homeland security – may be among the ambassador’s discussion topics as well, he said.