As soon as we have confirmed details for the next Chapter meeting, this page will be updated.

Previous events

Challenges of the European Union – The way forward after BREXIT

7 December 2016

Panel discussion on 7 Dec. 2016 in Brussels with Michael Jürgen Werner, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Robert Bray, Head of Unit, Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament, moderated by Jettie Van Caenegem, Chair Friends of ERA.

Challenges of the European Union - The way forward after BREXITAt the beginning Jettie Van Caenegem introduced the two panellists and gave a short introduction about the ‘Friends of ERA’ association as a circle of legal practitioners supporting ERA and specifically young professionals through the ERA scholarship programme.

The first speaker, Michael-Jürgen Werner, referred to the core principles of the European Union, namely the free movement of people, solidarity and the rule of law.
In order to explain solidarity, he referred to the judgment of the European Court of Justice from 1973 about the general principle of solidarity.
Mr Werner pointed out, that the rule of law stands for clarity and gives certainty instead of chaos. The Costa ENEL judgment of the European Court of Justice from 1964 has been quoted in this respect as an important reference in a time of critical discussions about the functioning of the European Union after the Brexit vote in the UK.

Robert Bray introduced that Brexit makes him very angry, because permanent lies and propaganda have led to this result in the UK. Mr Bray referred to the treaties and explained, that once Article 50 is triggered, within 18 month the separation of UK from the EU has to be solved. He pointed out, that many decisions have to be taken in order to clarify the continuous payments of EU Budget, compensation requests for leaving and moving the EU Agencies from UK, e.g. EBA.
After the presentation of their thoughts a serious and interesting discussion followed. The questions about a transitional period was raised and if it will be possible and how this might be based on current EU law. Mr Bray explained, that a transitional period Challenges of the European Union - The way forward after BREXITunder the existing rules is not possible. There is no place where this can be found, contrary to the press and some statements from the British side. This will only be possible, if a new treaty will create such an arrangement for transition for UK from being a member state to becoming a third country of the EU. Article 50 gives no ground for transition time. Mr Bray explained clearly, that once the UK is out of the EU, it will be a third country and has to negotiate new treaties with the EU under WTO. There was a common feeling within the attendants that in order to bring the EU back on track proper communication, even propaganda, at all levels and all ages is essential. Michael Jürgen Werner launched a call for all lawyers to contribute by carrying out the message to schools and other institutions.


The Refugee Crisis – What Role for
EU Law v Politics?

18 November 2015
Roundtable Discussion with Roberta Metsola, Ruben Wissing and Benoit Dhondt

On 18 November, we were pleased to host a very successful roundtable discussion on “The Refugee Crisis – What Role for EU Law v Politics?” at Las Castanuelas, a beautiful Spanish restaurant that provided superb tapas for the guests of the evening. We enjoyed a particularly thorough and rigorous debate on the topic- started off by insightful and thought-provoking opening statements by the speakers, as well as their knowledgeable comments that sustained the animated debate throughout the evening. We are very grateful to Roberta Metsola (MEP (EPP), Member Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee), Michael Niejahr (Representative from the The Refugee Crisis – What Role for EU Law v Politics?European Commission), Ruben Wissing (Head of Legal & Politics, Belgian Refugee Council, CBAR-BCHV) and Benoit Dhondt (practising lawyer, Verstrepen – Chabot, Antwerp, specialising in migration and human rights law) for bringing the engaging debate to the table for the evening. A further thanks must be given to Nina Niejahr (Coordinator of the Friends of ERA Brussels Chapter), without whom the evening would not have been made possible.

We were especially delighted not only by the quality of debate, but also by the large number of participants who attended. We look forward to inviting the attendees and anyone else interested to future events with the Friends of ERA Brussels Chapter.


11th biennial General Meeting of the Friends of ERA Association

27 May 2015

On 27 May 2015, we were excited to hold our 11th General Assembly of the Friends of ERA, which took place at our office in Brussels, followed by a dinner at nearby restaurant L’Atelier. It was great to see so many people come and work together to improve the future of the Association- that 15 people sustained the discussion for two hours obviously meant there were a lot of ideas being put forward! 11th biennial General Meeting of the Friends of ERA AssociationOf particular note was the election of Jettie Van Caenegem, previously Coordinator of the Belgium Chapter, to the position of Chairwoman of the Friends of ERA Association. We are privileged to have Jettie continue her diligent work for the Association, and look forward to her leadership. We also extend our sincerest gratitude to Mr Manuel Medina Ortega, who was excellent as Chairman of the Association, and we were extremely fortunate for all that he has done for the Association. Our second appointment was of Nina Niejahr, who takes over Jettie’s position as Coordinator of the Brussels Chapter, and we are excited for what she will achieve in the role.


How to grow the Friends of ERA network in Belgium?

3 June 2014
Second Meeting of the Friends of ERA Association Belgian Chapter

After the great success of the first ever meeting of the FOE Association in March, we were delighted to be able to host a second meeting only a few months later in June. We met in ERA’s very own office in Brussels to first go over the crucial question of how to grow the Friends of ERA network in Belgium, as well as give the usual updates and news of ERA. How to grow the Friends of ERA network in Belgium?Following the meeting, we continued on our discussions at the Restaurant Food and Wine, which provided superb French and Italian culinary delights. On behalf of Mr Manuel Medina Ortega (Chairman of the Friends of ERA) and Jettie Van Caenegem (Coordinator of the Belgian Chapter), our sincerest gratitude goes for those who attended the event, and we look forward to hosting more in the future.


First Brussels Dinner of the Friends of ERA Association (Belgian Chapter)

6 March 2014

First Brussels Dinner of the Friends of ERA Association (Belgian Chapter)At the excellent Greek Restaurant NOTOS in Brussels, we were extremely fortunate to be able to host our first ever meeting with the Friends of ERA Association on the 6 March 2014. It was a wonderful evening to meet with other Friends, give updates on the latest news and occurrences of ERA projects, as well as discuss the FOE membership and what we would like to develop and improve on in the future. It was an optimistic start to the FOE Association meetings, and we very much look forward to the future- to widen the FOE network, conduct regular chapter meetings, and help promote and elevate the visibility of the Association across Europe.

On behalf of Mr Manuel Medina Ortega (Chairman of the Friends of ERA Association) and Ms Jettie van Caenegem (Member of the Executive Committee), many thanks go to those who attended the evening, and we are excited for many more to come.