high level dialogue for a globalised world


AECA in Brussels is an established and trusted high-level forum where senior business leaders and policy-makers meet together to examine and discuss issues and challenges of common interest and concern.

At the heart of AECA activities is the programme of round-table debates. The number attending each event is restricted to the number that can be seated around one table. This format for the meetings allows for an intensely focused and highly interactive exchange of views between the speaker and participants.

The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule (*) to provide anonymity to speakers and encourage openness and the sharing of information. These conditions allow for uniquely open and frank discussions between senior members of the business, political, government, diplomatic and academic communities, that lead to constructive and effective outcomes, creating added value for all involved.

The annual AECA Reception, with keynote speakers, which attracts around three hundred participants from the international business and policy-making communities, is regarded as one of the landmark networking events in the capital of Europe. Twice a year, at the time of the change of the EU rotating Presidency, AECA organises a key round-table meeting at which the incoming Head of Coreper presents the priorities of the Presidency for the coming six months.

The AECA programme is a work in progress, many events being scheduled at relatively short notice to ensure topical relevance, and to anticipate and preview new issues and trends as they arise. The involvement of members and benefactors is important to AECA, and they are encouraged to share their ideas and wishes regarding themes and speakers.

(*) When a meeting is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

Recent speakers for aeca

Speakers invited to AECA events are key players in decision-and policy-making making processes. They are leaders in their field who join us to share their expertise, experience and vision. They find that the participants at AECA meetings are a helpful and reliable sounding-board, and welcome the valuable feedback “from the field” based on what is both current, and emerging.

Guest speakers at AECA events typically include: - Heads of State and Government; - Presidents, Commissioners and high level officials of the European Institutions; - Committee Chairs and Members of the European Parliament; - High-level representatives of International organizations such as NATO, WTO and IOC; - Ministers and Secretaries of State; - Ambassadors, governors and senators; - Deans and professors of prestigious universities; - Chairmen and CEOs of leading multinationals; as well as - Founders and leaders of various organisations in all domains.
Ben Smulders, Head of Cabinet of 1st Vice-President Frans Timmermans, European Commission “Dealing with regulatory burden”

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President & Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, European Commission “The Investment Plan for Europe: Current state of play”

Johan Thijs, Chief Executive Officer, KBC Group “Banking and Business – A Relationship Redeemed?”

Jos Delbeke, Director General for Climate Action, European Commission “Implementing the Paris Agreement: Next Steps towards a Global Clean Energy Transition”

H.E. Anthony L. Gardner, Ambassador, U.S. Mission to the EU “U.S. - EU Relations: Recent Achievements and the Way Forward”

Dr. Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO & Chairman of the Executive Committee, UCB “New Strategies in the Pharmaceutical Industry: a patient-focused approach”

Lowri Evans, Director General, DG GROW, European Commission “Strengthening Europe’s industrial base and digital economy”

General Sir Adrian BRADSHAW KCB OBE, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR), NATO / SHAPE “What happens to NATO now?”

Count Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Policy Centre, President Emeritus of the European Council &  Former Belgian Prime Minister “Quo Vadis, Europe? The EU post Brexit”
Download the full list of AECA speakers (2012-2018)