Ambassador Jean De Ruyt is a senior public policy advisor in Covington’s EU public policy team. Ambassador De Ruyt, a non-lawyer, is among the most experienced diplomats in Europe. Most recently, he served as the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union and was chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives during the 2010 Belgian Presidency of the Council.
Ambassador De Ruyt works with Covington’s transatlantic government affairs team, which includes experienced lawyers as well as former senior policymakers. The team advises clients on a range of European public affairs issues, including the EU policy-making processes, functioning of the European institutions, development of EU legislation and accession of new EU members. Ambassador De Ruyt has particular expertise in the workings of the EU Council and EU institutions more broadly, transatlantic relations and United Nations development policy.
Ambassador De Ruyt was closely involved in Europe’s response to the financial crisis and the resulting legislation at the European level. He was instrumental in the creation of the European diplomatic service and, as the Permanent Representative, facilitated the resolution of a variety of state aid and competition policy disputes for Belgian companies.
Ambassador De Ruyt was involved in the negotiation of the European Single Act and the Nice and Lisbon Treaties, in initiatives relating to the implementation of the Oslo agreements in the Middle East and in the rebuilding of peace in Central Africa. He also participated in the stabilisation of former Yugoslavia and the development of NATO and European Defence.
Last week marked a hand-over from the technical Brexit negotiations back to the negotiators’ political masters. After four rounds of talks on the future EU-UK relationship, it appears that the UK and the EU are increasingly talking past each other. With both sides seeming to accept that the transition period will finish at the end … Continue Reading
Every new team entering the Berlaymont to head up the European Commission starts out with bold and ambitious plans. Time after time, reality intervenes, and their plans are upended. This was true for the second Barroso Commission in 2010, when the aftershocks of the Global Financial Crisis and the Greek and Euro crisis that followed … Continue Reading
Two days before NATO celebrated its seventieth anniversary in Watford, close to London on December 3–4, Ursula Von Der Leyen started her 5 years as president of the European Commission. She had announced that her Commission would be ‘geopolitical’, and appointed a commissioner, the French Thierry Breton, to deal with ‘Defense Industry and Space’, among … Continue Reading
On September 10, Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, presented her new team. If approved by the European Parliament, they will take over from the Juncker Commission on November 1, 2019. This blog outlines the proposed structure of the new Commission, each Commissioner’s portfolio, and the key regulatory priorities that the President … Continue Reading
After the election of the new European Parliament on May 24-26, the European Council met three times to discuss the package of appointments of EU’s new leaders (see our blog ‘elections and appointments in the European Union’ …) . The white smoke came on Tuesday July 2 with the selection of new presidents for the … Continue Reading
The EU elections began on Thursday, May 23, and run to Sunday, May 26. These are likely to see a significant change in the make-up of the European Parliament, with the main center-left and center-right parties losing overall control. It will also kick off formally the process for appointing a new European Commission – which, … Continue Reading
Until recently, even those in Europe who favour the development of an autonomous EU defense capability avoided referring to the setting up of a “European army”. When the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) was included in the Nice treaty in December 2000, the British government of Tony Blair was adamant about the exclusion of … Continue Reading
Transatlantic trade tensions, the Brexit negotiations, migration, and Eurozone reform will dominate the June 28 European Council. Each of these issues are potentially divisive, and the leaders know that a new dose of solidarity will be needed to address them properly. They also know that next year will see additional challenges to the cohesion and … Continue Reading
Four major issues dominated the EU agenda in the first quarter of 2018: institutional adaptations in view of next year’s elections and appointments; a threat by the United States to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium; a proposal for a tax on technology companies; and the beginning of the second phase of the … Continue Reading
Europe in 2019 will not just be the year of Brexit. It will also witness the election of a new European Parliament (“EP”), the choice of a new president of the European Commission and of a new Commission, as well as the appointment of a new president of the European Council and of the European … Continue Reading
As we mentioned in our previous reports (here and here), “sufficient progress” in the first phase of the Brexit negotiation could not be achieved before the European Council of October 19-20, 2017 – so the heads of government decided to wait until their next meeting, on December 14-15, to assess whether the second phase, dealing … Continue Reading
In its meeting of December 14-15, the European Council should be deciding whether to launch the second phase of the Brexit negotiation which is the discussion on the future relationship between the UK and the European Union after Brexit. This is eighteen months after the Brexit referendum and almost nine months since British Prime Minister … Continue Reading
The third round of the Brexit negotiations, at the end of August, was not very productive. This was despite the British side’s publication of an impressive number of position papers over the course of the summer. These covered various technical questions but also the sensitive issue of the participation in the customs union and how … Continue Reading
The election in Germany, even if disappointing for the current coalition, allows the most respected European leader to remain Chancellor. She can continue to steer the European engine, with a new French counterpart, impatient to test his European agenda – as outlined in a speech in the Sorbonne on September 26. Is this the light … Continue Reading
On May 7, President-elect Emmanuel Macron greeted his jubilant supporters in the grounds of the Louvre to a serenade of the Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union. He had won the second round of the French Presidential election, dismissing the far-right Marine Le Pen’s challenge by 66.1% to her 33.9% A New … Continue Reading
On Thursday, December 15, at the end of the traditional end-of-year European Council, the 27 “remaining” heads of state or government of the EU had a short meeting, without Theresa May, to set out how the Brexit process would be handled by “the 27,” once the UK has notified its intent to leave the EU. … Continue Reading
The surprising victory of Francois Fillon Since 27 November, the favorite to become the next French President in the Spring 2017 election is Francois Fillon, someone nobody a month ago would have given any serious chance to get to the limelight. He received more than 2/3 of the votes in the second round of the … Continue Reading
Since June of this year, a major effort has been made at EU level to give new impetus to European Defense. A ‘Global strategy’ was presented at the end of June by the High Representative; a joint EU-NATO Declaration was issued during the NATO summit in Warsaw in July; a German white paper announcing an … Continue Reading
Few in Brussels expected Leave to win. The shock was palpable and first reactions very emotional: from EU officials literally crying in Council meetings to leaders suspecting the Brits of having invented a trick to Remain, while pretending to Leave. The absence of any plan from the Leave camp and the immediate damage caused to … Continue Reading
In a so-called “trilogue” meeting on June 16, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and the European Commission reached a “political” agreement on the key elements of a regulation that would implement a due diligence and reporting regime for conflict minerals imported in the EU. It has taken more than three years since the … Continue Reading
The Geopolitics of Europe has been seriously shaken since when in April last year refugees and other migrants started to cross en masse the external borders of the so called Schengen area. The last episode of the migration drama, the agreement concluded on 18 March 2016 between the leaders of the EU and Turkish prime … Continue Reading
The President of the European Council Donald Tusk presented his proposals on February 2 for a ‘new settlement of the United Kingdom within the European Union’. If accepted, they would allow David Cameron to campaign in the announced ‘Brexit referendum’ for continuing membership of the UK in the bloc. You will find here, the letter … Continue Reading
On January 13, the European Commission applied for the first time a mechanism aimed at addressing threats to the rule of law in a Member State of the Union. This mechanism had been adopted in 2014 having in mind certain measures taken by Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban. But the dubious honor to inaugurate … Continue Reading
Since April of this year, the EU agenda has been totally dominated by the migration issue. The sudden influx of several hundred thousand refugees from Syria, Eritrea and other conflict zones, but also economic migrants from the Balkan countries and elsewhere, has generated an earthquake of such a magnitude that any other discussion had to … Continue Reading