The President of the Commission of the European Union, José Manuel Barroso, will speak at the Weatherhead Center's 18th Paul-Henri Spaak Lecture on September 24. Created in 1981 thanks to the generosity of Frank Boas, the Spaak lecture series brought eminent Europeans to Harvard to address issues of importance to both Europe and the United States. After its suspension in 1999—and thanks to a donation by the Nicolas Janssen Family Fund of Brussels—this lecture series has been re-launched to address the new challenges and prospects of transatlantic relations.
President Barroso will deliver the 2008 Paul-Henri Spaak Lecture titled "A Letter from Brussels to the Next President of the United States."
Barroso became Commission President in the midst of the ratification process of the "Constitutional Treaty," worked out to further advance European unity and to better accommodate the EU enlargement by the formerly Communist Central European countries as well as Malta and Cyprus. He dealt with a crisis when the French and Dutch rejected this Treaty in a referendum in 2005, and spearheaded the drafting of a “Reform Treaty” to meet its constituents’ demands, which was ratified by a large majority of EU members but rejected by the Irish voters in a referendum in 2008.
This lecture series was named after Paul-Henri Spaak, the Foreign Minister of Belgium who played a decisive role in working out the Treaty of the European Economic Community and EURATOM of 1958.