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Association of European Journalists - European Parliament Election Special, London 14 March

Elections briefings for journalists. First session with Simon Hix, Professor of European and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science. Second session with Dutch MEP Derk Jan Eppink, Retiring Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP for Brussels.

European Elections Briefing by Prof Simon Hix - 11:00 -12:15

Simon Hix, Professor of European and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science

An acknowledged top authority on the European Parliament, EP elections and EU politics, his teaching and research work at the LSE focuses on comparative democratic institutions as well as broader European Union and regional integration issues.

Simon Hix set up the comprehensive website VoteWatch in 2009 to track the patterns of voting and other activities inside the European Parliament and the European Council (the heads of government summits).

In his illustrated and timely European Elections briefing he gave an overview of the main political battles ahead in the May EP election, the likely political colours of the new Parliament and how the outcome will affect the member states, especially the UK.

Derk Jan Eppink MEP - 12:30-14.:30

Dutch MEP Derk Jan Eppink, Retiring Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP for Brussels

Originally a business journalist, Mr Eppink entered Parliament as a member for Brussels at the last election, representing the Conservatives and Reformists Group, to which the UK Conservative Party also belongs, and of which he is Vice-Chair. He is stepping down in May. From 1999 to 2004, he worked in the Commission as a member of the cabinet of Dutch European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein and then until 2007 in the cabinet of Estonian Sliim Kallas when he was vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for administration, auditing and the fight against fraud.

Mr Eppink is Dutch and was educated as a lawyer. After a short stint in the European Commission he spent 12 years in journalism before returning to the Commission as a senior official. Later, he spent three years in New York working as a freelance before returning to Belgium in 2009 to stand for election as an MEP.

He is well-known as a former European Commission insider and journalist who has published several highly critical books about the direction in which the EU has evolved so far.
They include two in English - Life of a European Mandarin and Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe.

As he quits the European Parliament stage, he has agreed to talk about his assessment of the current state of the EU’s policy-making machinery and the radical reforms that he considers essential for Europe’s future.