Graham Meadows, Director of Regional Policy Implementation for UK, France and Germany, European Commission, Brussels, on 7 October 1999

Graham Meadows returned to the Institution to a warm welcome from members and especially those who had heard him speak before and some who had also visited Brussels.

Mr. Meadows' theme for the evening was which level of government i.e. World, Europe, nation state, region or local, was the most appropriate to accept various responsibilities. In
examining this area, he suggested that the principle of subsidiarity was paramount. Resistance to this idea especially from the UK tends to stem from the fear of losing sovereignty. Mr. Meadows expressed the view that the concept of sovereignty needs closer examination especially in respect of the protection minority rights and of environmental concerns which actually may be strengthened by subsidiarity.

During the question period, the audience raised many issues connected to control and the growth of a vast bureaucracy in Brussels. Some felt that the number of civil servants in the EEC should be reduced. Mr Meadows responded by suggesting that the number of civil servants in the Commission is still relatively small and that their attitude, training and ability are the critical issues. The need is to reduce red tape and other obstacles to job creation and to increase the ability of entrepreneurs and business to transform ideas into practice and for expansion.

The vote of thanks was offered by Rodney Tye who expressed the feeling of the meeting that it had been an interesting and provocative evening.

Betty Suchar