Book Review by Alia Papageorgiou as featured on Page 15 this Brussels based newspaper -->[...]
Hanneke Siebelink is not your average expat, the first time I met her was before the summer break where she first told me about her passion and curiosity on China, how will Europe sit around the table with them?
"Being able to sit around the table, with different cultures, and make decisions together, this will be the specialisation of the future, I believe it," she said as a group, her and her editor of latest book, The 50 Days That Changed Europe, Derek Blyth have organized, a round of debates, taking place at Cercle Des Voyageurs, on November 9 at 20:00 pm, called CAFEEUROPA.
Born of the idea that Europe has always maintained a café culture to exchange ideas, debate, philosophize and find a common understanding on current events, Hanneke Sieblink and Derek Blyth (former editor of The Bulletin) are constantly finding a void in current affair discussions on "Europe" and want to change this.
You see, Hanneke grew up within the bureaucracy of Brussels, her Dutch father was sent to Brussels to help Sicco Mansholt, a Dutch Farmer's son who was the Fourth President of the European Commission, construct the Common Agricultural Policy. She's witnessed form behind the scenes, and researched very well, how this construct was built and lived her life drenched in the European Project. Following studies at the LSE in London, she worked for the US Mission to the EU in Brussels as an Economic Advisor.
Fascinated, driven by it, but also a part of her norm Hanneke, like most of Brussels, had to re-adjust when enlargement took effect, and began deliberating on this notion of expanding ones negotiation and decision making techniques with varied cultures.
Her book, a second following an account on Abraham Lincoln's life, takes us behind the scenes in a fly on the wall, type of feel, to decisions leaving their mark on Europe, Thatcher demanding her money back, the CAP constructed, (with insights form her father writing letters to her mother back in Holland on progress of its creation), the Treaty of Rome, the fall of the Berlin Wall and others.
A genuine contribution to Brussels' history, an intimate portrait, that will hopefully spark much debate and provide for others the background to the rise and rise (..) of the Euro.
CAFEEUROPA will launch its first event on November 9, 2011 for more details visit cafeeuropatalks.tumblr.com