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Association Executives meet with high level EU representatives and TABD Director at “EUROPE TODAY: WHAT ASSOCIATIONS NEED TO KNOW: The 2011 Update”


10 Oct 2011


Public Affairs

Brussels, Belgium (October 10th, 2011) —The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the Center for Association Leadership in collaboration with Kellen Europe hosted the “2011 Europe Today update: What Associations Needs to Know” last week in Washington D.C. More than 75 association executives from across the United States participated in this year’s conference that looked at the potential impact that political, legislative and regulatory changes in the EU are having on associations based in the US.

Maria Teresa Scardigli, Vice President of Kellen Europe, touched upon some of the recent or upcoming political changes in the EU, such as the next phase in the EU’s enlargement. One of the key questions in that regard was what the new enlargement would mean for associations working in the EU. Ms. Scardigli pointed out: “A European Union with 27 or 37 member states does not make a huge difference for EU associations.”

On a political level this enlargement will have a big impact naturally, but for associations operating in the EU it is a given to work with members from more than 27 member states. In that regard, EU federations are inclusive of associations in non-member states such as Turkey, which is a long time valuable partner in business associations and professional societies. Ms. Scardigli also addressed important EU legislative initiatives that could significantly impact US based organizations. Among these are the energy efficiency goals that for example architects, construction companies or facility managers need to be aware of.  And, for example, the fact that new food labeling rules will require the display of ingredient levels on consumer food packaging across Europe.

The second speaker, Kathryn Hauser, who is the Executive Director of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) in D.C. focused on the transatlantic cooperation. She stressed the importance of this cooperation by referring to the fact that the bulk of global investments in R&D are still made between companies in the EU and the US. She said that there is a strong need to continue working together and leveraging that strength. She mentioned that “a solid transatlantic cooperation on public policy level can help bolster the economic agenda both continents pursue”. She also stressed that “a strong corporate leadership is needed in order to come to a new EU/US trade agreement”.

Third speaker Hiddo Houben heads the Trade Section of the European Commission’s delegation in Washington D.C. gave more insight from the institutional point of view. He pointed out that “the European Union has evolved on a different track compared to the US. It was formed as a structure binding established and sovereign nation states together through Treaties that have been changed every decade or so. In contrast, the US constitution written by the founding fathers, that has remained largely untouched since independence.”

When asked about the  current ‘debt crisis’ in Europe, Hiddo stressed that ‘The EU treaty for establishing the euro was based on a compromise between members states with different economic interests in forming a common currency. The current situation will require a strong joint effort between European Commission, Parliament and last but not least the member states of the Eurozone to overcome the debt crisis and keep the currency on course. He also stressed that it is not to be forgotten that the European Union has been hugely successful as a stabilising influence through the process of enlargement.’

About Kellen Europe

Kellen Europe provides association management, strategic advice, communications, government affairs, benchmarking studies, internet services and other professional advice to associations and corporations worldwide.  Over the last 20 years, Kellen Europe has gathered considerable expertise that enables the company to rapidly anticipate the needs of emerging or existing associations and to provide tailored organizational solutions. For more information, please visit

Kellen Europe is the European base of the Kellen Company, which has offices in Atlanta, Beijing, Brussels, New York, Singapore and Washington D.C. and global alliance partners, among others in China, India


Europe: Nele Devolder                                                    

+32 2 761 16 00  


USA: Stan Samples      

+ 1 678 303 2996 


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