On Thursday 13 February Warwick welcomed former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and past-European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, to speak about the future of Great Britain following its departure from the European Union. Over 60 Warwick Politics and International Studies (PAIS) students and staff attended the lecture which took place at WBS London, The Shard.
Mr De Gucht has been the President of the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) since 2015, where he is a Professor of European Law, and of Vesalius College since 2019. Mr. De Gucht was the European Commissioner for Trade during President Barroso’s second Commission, from 2010 until 2014. From 2009 until 2010 he was also European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
Mr De Gucht gave his perspective on the future EU-UK relationship, focusing on economics, security, and values. He provided an alternative view of the future relationship to that presented by PM Boris Johnson earlier this week and outlined his opinion on some of the difficulties associated with the idea of looking at the United States as an alternative economic referent.
Immediately following the lecture, Mr De Gucht led a VUB senior delegation to Warwick to explore further opportunities to work together. VUB and the University of Warwick are two of the founding institutions of EUTOPIA, an alliance of European universities committed to modernising education and training, and providing 21st century skills and competencies in all of Europe’s regions.
Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams, Head of Department, Politics and International Studies (PAIS), University of Warwick said;
“The Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) has a long history of research collaboration with the Institute of European Studies (IES) at VUB. We are now deepening this relationship, with the IES and Vesalius College, to include new provision in post-graduate education. This strategic partnership reflects our mission as a bold, open, and internationalist community, and further strengthens PAIS as one of Europe’s leading Politics Departments.”