Knowing Me, Knowing EU
30 November 2017
What do you really think about the EU? When AIJA was asked by ERA (Academy of European Law) to give a presentation at their Jubilee Congress about the future of the EU, we decided to ask our members just that. The survey results made for a very interesting presentation and debate.
Respondents to the survey were asked what the primary achievement of the EU has been since its existence. The majority (52%) said long lasting peace in Europe, followed by creating a common market (24%) and open borders between member states (14%). Only 5% felt the single currency was its greatest achievement.
Asked to pick one of five potential future scenarios as the most likely direction for the European Union, the top choice (40%) was Member States forming a closer union, with common policy areas such as defence, internal security or taxation. Current examples of this include the EURO zone and the Schengen zone. The next largest group (23%) believed the EU would simply continue on its current form. While only 12% felt the EU would reduce its remit and “do less more efficiently”.
In recent years critical voices of the EU have been successful in referenda or elections in a number of Member States while pro-European parties have suffered electoral losses. When respondents were asked what could have caused this, the most popular answer (35%) said “a lack of recognition of the benefits of the EU” was the main cause followed by a lack of selling power and leadership by pro-European parties regarding the benefits of the EU (30%). Others believed it was the exaggeration of the burdens of the EU (19%) or non-delivery of the promise of European integration (9%).
While immigration is the number one issue raised by anti-EU parties at the ballot box, only 13% of the respondents cite this as the biggest threat to the EU; rather, they say, it is “Lack of solidarity between Member States” (49%) followed by “its democratic/leaderships image” (19%).
So what will the EU look like in 15 years time? That is, of course, anyone’s guess. And the respondents to the survey are roughly split into two camps. Just under 40% believe the EU will either be broken up into smaller pieces, or will actually cease to exist. While almost 56% believe the EU will be broadly similar to its current form or even stronger. But bearing in mind the ‘Brexit’ referendum was carried with only a 48% to 52% split, then 40% versus 56% is a landslide victory for positivity within AIJA for the EU.
AIJA Takes to The Slopes
30 November 2017
Holding a special winter event is fast becoming something of an annual AIJA tradition. And this January will see a double seminar held in Valbella, one of the biggest ski areas in Switzerland. First Roger Federer chose it as his Swiss residence; now AIJA has chosen it for its special winter event.
Jointly hosted by the AIJA M&A and the Private Clients and Litigation Commissions, this will give a chance for a valuable exchange of views. “One often speaks about M&A in general terms and not necessarily making reference to the specific industry sector where a transaction is carried out”, explains Pascal Hubli, Partner of Schellenberg Wittmer and organising committee member. “We are convinced that this seminar will bring some new fresh visions on the subjects. To give an example, the IT and the Fintech sectors are exposed to changes and evolution almost on a daily basis, the legal M&A advice has to adapt and follow this evolution. We are sure there will be very interesting discussions on this!”
Meanwhile the private clients practice and litigation practice related to estate matters “is always a major field and we saw that AIJA had not been offering an exchange on these subjects between the two commissions for quite a long time, so this was a good moment to organise such an event.”
The social program will show the best that the Swiss Alps have to offer. The winter sports on offer in this region are truly amongst the best in the world. The ski region Arosa Lenzerheide offers 225 km of perfect slopes and has one of the highest number of sunny days compared to other Swiss resorts. The OC could negotiate very competitive rates in its first-choice hotel together with substantial reductions on ski passes.
“All dinners during the event will be included in the registration fees and we will offer something new and fresh every night”, says Hubli. “Participants will enjoy local food in typical Swiss places and the charming atmosphere. “The unique combination of mountains, snow, interesting subjects with high-level international speakers and attendees and - of course - some ski makes this an event not to miss”, says Hubli. “This is key for this great event and no doubt this will motivate people to share experiences in the most relaxed and enjoyable way.”
The seminar will commence on the evening of Sunday 21 January 2018. The seminars‘ scientific programs will take place between Monday 22 January 2018 and Wednesday 24 January 2018 in the mornings, with the afternoons reserved for skiing, networking, or a bit of both.
For more information about the event, click here
And The AIJA 2018 Annual Congress Host City Is…?
30 November 2017
With memories of the Tokyo Annual Congress still as fresh as sushi, our thoughts now turn to the host city for the 2018 Congress. And here’s a culinary clue: this time it has more of a ‘Moules et Frites’ flavour. That’s right, it’s Brussels, in Belgium.
Given its central location at the heart of both Europe and the EU seats of power, Brussels is also where AIJA is headquartered.
“The International Young Lawyers’ Congress will reflect the spirit of Brussels”, explains Marie Brasseur, Vice President AIJA Corporate and M&A Commission. “Brussels inhabitants are easy-going people who like to meet with friends and enjoy a good meal. Without changing the fundamentals of an AIJA Congress, our goal is to render the scientific program more attractive for all participants during the whole Congress and to have as much time as possible for participants to interact during the social events.”
Attendees will experience life in the very centre of Brussels with plenty of time to interact with peers in a whole series of settings, including working sessions, the café culture, in the Grand-Place, or one of the city’s many famous public parks.
While the 2018 Congress sees AIJA coming home, the focus of the programme will remain very global in outlook. In fact, the topic of ‘globalisation’ will run throughout the seminar programme.
Given the recent rise of populist, anti-establishment politics in various countries, the entire structure of free trade, free movement and globalisation is being called into question. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law appear to be under threat in many places around the world.
With all these topics in mind, the AIJA Annual Congress 2018 will seek to develop a scientific programme that examines these emerging trends and discusses where we are heading: is it towards greater integration, international co-operation and cross border trade, or in the opposite direction?
“These topics are of crucial importance to young, career building lawyers from around the world”, says Brasseur. “We think that Brussels, as the de facto capital of the EU and a truly international city, is the perfect place to address them.”
The attendees of the Brussels Congress will therefore “have a great opportunity to learn and discuss the challenges we may face in our professional lives in the coming years”, says Grégoire Ryelandt, member of the AIJA Antitrust Commission. “The focus will be on cutting edge international legal developments, with great networking opportunities.”
Keep up to date at http://brussels.aija.org.
Brussels Congress Programme: Is The Dream of Globalisation Over?
30 November 2017
The central theme for the AIJA Annual Congress 2018 in Brussels will be globalisation – but how exactly will that be addressed within the wider scientific programme? According to Andreas White, past president of the AIJA Labour Law Commission, “When we started to plan the scientific programme, it was against the backdrop of global upheaval and uncertainty. So we arrived at the following working title: ‘Imagine all the people: is the dream of globalisation over? Are we heading towards or away from international integration?’”
Established patterns of international trade and commerce, and the national and supranational legal rules that underpin them, appear to be under threat from developments around the world. The seminars currently being finalised by the various commissions will therefore cover the following key topics: cross border transactions and disputes, restrictions on transactions (including antitrust and local regulatory restrictions), the modern international family (from a private client, tax and immigration perspective), global retail (from a real estate and commercial perspective), global employment mobility, the perspective of emerging economies with respect to globalisation, global human rights standards, fake news, and parallel imports.
“At the Brussels Annual Congress 2018, a number of Commissions will be teaming up to organise joint sessions, offering a multidisciplinary view of relevant topics” says Karen Ruback, member of the AIJA Antitrust Commission. “Also, given that globalisation is the basic theme for the Congress, the sessions will likely contain greater emphasis on a comparative analysis of legal systems of different jurisdictions, and discussions on the main challenges when different legal systems apply to a specific matter.”
“We are encouraging AIJA’s 20 scientific (sub)commissions to team up with each other to organise slots on current topics of interest to more than one commission”, says White. “We also encourage them to get as many members as possible actively involved in the preparation of their slot.”
The Voice of the Profession seminar focused on human rights and the joint ABA SIL session are all highly anticipated, and are once again expected to be highlights within the scientific programme.
The plenary session organised by the SCILL Commission, on the last day of the scientific programme, “will offer valuable content to the participants, aiming at developing or improving their skills and identifying the tools to develop a global network and get new clients”, adds Jean-Rodolphe Fiechter, Vice President of the AIJA SCILL Commission. After all, the spirit of AIIJA is not about retreating behind national borders and protectionism – our strength lies in our international network.
Keep up to date at http://brussels.aija.org.
Collaborations and Reflections from the AIJA President
30 November 2017
Being an AIJA President requires a large amount of international travel and this means a lot of hard work, insists Wiebe de Vries, AIJA President. “We maintain very warm ties with the most important international legal organisations”, he says. “We do so by attending their annual conferences and other events where we can, and we meet each other on a variety of occasions throughout the year. During all these meetings we try to have some time to talk about our cooperation in terms of joint events, exchange of panellists and presentations to each other’s members on what our organisations do.”
It also gives de Vries a useful yardstick with which to rate AIJA compared to other legal associations. “If you look at the crowd attending our events obviously this is a different crowd compared to the people attending most of the other associations, as our age limit makes sure we have young people in the rooms”, he says. “Not only in the participants but also the speakers and panellists, though very knowledgeable in terms of content, are relatively younger than the speakers at an event of Union Internationale des Avocats, the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association, or the Inter Pacific Bar Association, to name just a few of them.”
But that doesn’t mean AIJA is seen as less of a ‘heavy-hitter’ – far from it. “AIJA over time has grown to be seen as a serious player” by the other organisations, says de Vries. “We provide quality events, we play our role in the international legal scene if you look at our initiatives and cooperation to defend human rights and the rule of law, and we manage to attract members from all over the world making us rise above our image as a Europe only association.”
His experiences of representing AIJA as its President, at events all over the world, serve to remind him that “first and foremost our mission is to provide the best in terms of events to our members”, he says: “Quality in content and training, with reputable speakers.”
Close ties with other associations also give AIJA members a “soft-landing” when they exceed the AIJA age limit too. “With our natural age limit it is essential that we also give our members some guidance on where they should go next”, says de Vries. “We promote the quality of our members and events to those organisations, and they in turn are interested in getting our members on board and getting them in active roles quickly.”