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Etienne Davignon
delivers the plenary address
on the third day of EITC 97 , 26 November

Etienne Davignon Viscount Etienne Davignon is Chairman of Société Générale de Belgique (SGB) , Belgium's leading holding company. He joined the company in 1985 after serving from 1977 as Vice-President of the European Commission, where he was in charge of industry, research and energy. He was active in the restructuring of European industry (steel, textiles, synthetic fibres) and in promoting new research cooperative ventures in information technology (Esprit) and telecommunications (RACE, the forerunner of ACTS).

In 1959, Mr. Davignon joined the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was head of the cabinets of Ministers Spaak and Harmel. From 1969 he was responsible for the Political Department of the Ministry until his departure in 1977 for the European Commission.

During his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was directly involved with Belgium's policies in Africa, the independence of Ruanda and Burundi and the solution to the Belgium and Zaïre conflict. He was also a key figure behind the report on the future of the Atlantic Alliance (Harmel report) and he presided over the committee which prepared the first proposals regarding political cooperation between EEC members (Davignon Report, 1974-1975).

Following the oil crisis in 1973, Mr. Davignon chaired the international conference that established an oil-sharing treaty. From 1974 to 1977, he was the first president of the International Energy Agency.

Mr. Davignon is a member of the Board of the Générale de Banque, Compagnie de Suez, BASF, ICL, Solvay, Kissinger Associates, and several SGB group companies.

He became Chairman of the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe in 1991. As a member of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), he chairs the working group on Trade and Investment. He is also a Chairman of the Paul-Henri Spaak Foundation and of the Royal Institute for International Relations.


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