CEF hosts monthly meetings and discussion sessions that feature senior UK and continental European speakers. Our meetings bring together UK and other European stakeholders, including the diplomatic community, politicians and industry leaders. Some of our events are open to the public, but many are for members only and held under the Chatham House Rule to allow for more intimate and open discussion. You can watch some of our public Zoom events below or click here to see a list of all our recent events.
Ukraine: 90 days of war with Aliona Hlivco
25th May 2022
Aliona Hlivco is a political risk analyst, a strategic relations manager at the Henry Jackson Society and a regular contributor at Chatham House Russia and Eurasia Programme’s roundtables and events.
Prior to coming to London several years ago, she had an extensive political career in Ukraine. Having started as a journalist and a campaign manager, she has gone on to become a trustee to the presidential candidate and one of the leaders of one of the largest political parties in Ukraine.
Aliona was an activist during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and one of the organisers of the Revolution of Dignity 10 years later. When the war broke out shortly after Maidan, she became a part of the volunteer movement helping crowdfund for the Ukrainian military defending the country’s sovereignty in 2014.
After having worked as a chief of staff to an MP, she ran for office herself and stood as a candidate in the Ukrainian parliamentary general elections. In 2015, she was elected as an MP and became a chief party whip in the Chernivtsi Regional Parliament. Aliona also served as a Special Adviser to the Chairman of the Parliament. Aliona is a TEDx speaker and a recipient of the Order of Merit for significant contribution to democratic developments in Ukraine (2018).
The Worm in the Apple: A History of the Conservative Party and Europe from Churchill to Cameron
Lord Tugendhat in conversation with Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE
26th April 2022
This event was held to mark the launch of Lord Tugendhat's new book. The Conservative Party have been in power for 47 of the 65 years since the end of the Second World War. During that time the division within the party over Europe has been the enduring drama of British politics - from Churchill's decision not to join the original European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 to Cameron's decision to hold an In/Out referendum in 2016. Other leaders came and went, but the issue was always there - sometimes centre-stage, at others behind the scenes - destabilising foreign policy, corroding the body politic, and destroying several of the party's leaders. These questions, and how they panned out, created a deep, grumbling discontent - the worm in the apple - that, over time, turned the Conservative Party and, by extension, a significant section of the electorate against British membership of the EU. By telling the story of the arguments and divisions within the Conservative Party, The Worm in the Apple explains why Britain voted to leave in 2016. It is by no means the whole story, but they are an important part of it.
Christopher Tugendhat has had a long and distinguished career from a journalist with the Financial Times, a Conservative MP and an European Commissioner to a member of the House of Lords today. He has chaired Chatham House, the Civil Aviation Authority and Abbey National PLC as well as having been Chancellor of the University of Bath.
Is Europe Safe? Perspectives to 2030
21st March 2022
Well before the current events in Ukraine, there was a pressing need for likeminded allies and partners to work closely together on issues of global importance. Tobias Ellwood MP Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and David McAllister MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, draw on in-depth political experience, both having recently been to Ukraine to learn more about the crisis first-hand. They examine the current situation, look ahead to the next decade and consider how best to protect Europe.
This event is jointly organised by the Conservative European Forum (CEF) and the Ideas Network 2030 (IN2030) in cooperation with the Wilfried Martens Centre (WMC)
Meeting with Rt Hon. Sir Robert Buckland QC MP
1st March 2022
The rule of law in Europe - meeting with Sir Robert Buckland QC MP, chaired by Sir David Lidington. Sir Robert's opening speech was on the record and is available to watch online. The following Q&A was held under the Chatham House Rule.
Sir Robert is the current MP for South Swindon, first being elected in 2010. He served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice from July 2019 to September 2021. Sir Robert was Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice from May 2019 to July 2019 and was previously Solicitor General.
Meeting with The Hon. Radosław (Radek) Sikorski MEP
31st January 2022
Speaking live from eastern Ukraine, Radek discusses the current situation. He is part of a European Parlaiment high-level delegation that is visiting Ukraine for both fact-finding purposes and to show solidarity with Ukrainian citizens.
Radek Sikorski is a member of the European Parliament for Poland, sitting on Committees for Foreign Affairs, the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence and the Security and Defence Subcommittee. He is the Chairman of the Delegation for relations with the United States, Chairman of the EU-USA Delegation, Vice President of EU-UK friendship group and delegate to the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard and Distinguished Statesman at CSIS in Washington D.C.
He was Poland’s Minister of Defence (2005-2007), Foreign Minister (2007-2014) and Speaker of Parliament (2014-2015).
The future of Franco-UK relations & the French Presidential election
12th January 2022
The future of Franco-UK relations & the French Presidential election - webinar with Lord Ricketts, chaired by Sir David Lidington.
Lord Ricketts spent 40 years as a British diplomat before retiring in early 2016. His last post was Ambassador to France, where he was heavily involved with UK-French defence cooperation following from the 2010 Lancaster House Treaties.
He was a member of the Advisory Commission for the 2013 French Defence White Paper. Before that he was the UK's first National Security Adviser (2010-12) and Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO (2006-10). A particular strand to his career has been crisis management and politico-military affairs; he was involved in policy on the UK interventions in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Sir Peter was British Permanent Representative to NATO 2003-6.
Lord Ricketts is a strategic adviser to Lockheed Martin UK, a Visiting Professor at King's College London, a Non-Executive Director of Groupe Engie, and Chairman of the Normandy Memorial Trust building the British national memorial to those who fell under British command in the 1944 battle of Normandy.
The future of EU & UK relations: opportunity and responsibility
15th September 2021
The future of EU & UK relations: opportunity and responsibility - meeting with Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, chaired by Sir David Lidington.
João Vale de Almeida became the EU Ambassador to the UK in February 2020, he was previously the EU Ambassador to the United Nations from 2015 to 2019 and the first EU Ambassador to the United States of America. It was during this time, he focused on the strengthening of EU/US relations and the launching of negotiations for TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
Prior his Ambassador appointment in Washington, he was the Director General for External Relations at the European Commission and the Head of Cabinet (Chief of staff and main adviser) for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and acted as the EU “Sherpa” for G8 and G20 Summits.
COP26 and the opportunities for the European centre right green agenda
21st June 2021
COP26 and the opportunities for the European centre right green agenda - webinar with Claire Perry O'Neill, chaired by Sir David Lidington.
Claire is the Managing Director for Climate and Energy and Natural Climate Solutions for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and and a Public Policy Projects (PPP) Senior Advisor for Energy and Climate.
Claire served as the UK Member of Parliament for Devizes from 2010-2019 and as the UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 2017-2019. After leading the UK’s winning bid to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), she served as COP26 President-Designate until 2020.
Prior to entering politics Claire worked for Bank of America, McKinsey and Company, and Credit Suisse before starting her own small business offering online financial advice to women
Matthew Parris "in conversation" with John Bowis OBE
9th June 2021
Matthew Parris is one of Britain’s foremost columnists and political commentators. During the event, Matthew shared his thoughts on current political events, followed by a Q&A. John Bowis is a Vice-President of CEF and former MP, Minister for Health and for Transport, and MEP. The event was hosted and chaired by The Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE, CEF Chair and former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office.
There is always something new out of Africa
14th April 2021
'There is always something new out of Africa' - a meeting with Jeremy Lefroy and the Rt Hon Alistair Burt.
Jeremy is the Chair of the CEF Foreign Affairs Policy Group, former MP for Stafford from 2010 – 2019. He is a director of the East African equipment leasing group, Equity for Africa, which he co-founded in 2003 to support SME finance and job creation and Vice Chair of the Board of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Alistair is a former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.
Keynote speech by CEF Chair, Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE
Building a new relationship: the United Kingdom and Europe in a changing world
28th January 2021
CEF Chair, the Rt Hon. Sir David Lidington KCB CBE, delivered a keynote speech entitled 'Building a new relationship: the United Kingdom and Europe in a changing world'. Ahead of Sir David's speech, CEF Deputy Chair, Stephen Hammond MP announced that CGE would now become CEF to reflect the organisations's change in priorities, focus and mission.
European Britain Global Britain: Foreign Affairs and International Relations Post-Brexit
11th November 2020
A panel-style webinar with Rt Hon The Lord Hague of Richmond, Tom Tugendhat MP, Neale Richmond TD, Sir David Lidington KCB CBE and Rt Hon Alistair to launch the first publication by the CGE Foreign Affairs Policy Group. The publication is comprised of a collection of essays from CGE members, with a variety of backgrounds from retired diplomats and politicians to business, share a Conservative perspective in presenting a common approach on how this UK post-Brexit vision can be delivered by the government in a pragmatic way, whilst reconciling past divisions on the subject of the EU.
A common theme running through the collection of essays is that for the UK to realise its ambition to become ‘Global Britain’, continuing to work closely with its allies and neighbours in Europe will be of significant assistance; our foreign policies will rarely be contradictory but more often mutually reinforcing
UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond
4th October 2020
CGE Fringe Event at Conservative Party Conference - UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond with Rt Hon Julian Smith CBE MP, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and former Chief Whip
Meeting the challenge of climate change: the role of ESG and the City
Webinar with Rt Hon The Lord Deben and Sir Roger Gifford
2nd September 2020
Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE chairs a webinar with Lord Deben and Sir Roger Gifford to discuss the role of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and the City.
Lord Deben is current Chair of the Independent Committee on Climate Change. Previously, he was Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food between 1989 and 1993 and was the longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment.
Sir Roger Gifford is a senior banker, he led the UK Government's Green Finance Taskforce in 2018 and Chairs the UK Green Finance Institute. He is an Alderman of the City of London Corporation and was Lord Mayor of London in 2013.
Webinar with Dr Norbert Röttgen MP and Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE
24th August 2020
Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE chairs a webinar with Dr Norbert Röttgen to discuss the German perspective on the challenges facing Europe and on how the German Presidency is seeking to shape the future of the Union.
Dr Norbert Röttgen MP is a Member of the German Bundestag, former Deputy Federal Chairman of the CDU and current Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee.
Conservatives and the European Convention on Human Rights
Lord Daniel Finkelstein OBE in conversation with Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC
20th July 2020
The Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE, the newly elected CGE Chair, former Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, chairs the launch of the CGE paper - Conservatives and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lord Finkelstein OBE, The Times Columnist and Conservative Peer, is in conversation with The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC, CGE Vice President & former Attorney General, to discuss the paper.
Webinar with Ian Wright and Fergus McReynolds
28th May 2020
Ian Wright is the Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation and Fergus McReynolds is the Director of EU Affairs at MakeUK.
Webinar with David McAllister MEP and the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC
5th May 2020
David McAllister MEP is Chair of both the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and the UK Co-ordination Group. Before being elected to the European Parliament in 2014, David McAllister served as Minister-President of Lower Saxony from 2010 – 2013. He is a CDU politician and member of the European People's Party (EPP).