European-Atlantic Group

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The European-Atlantic Group was founded in London in 1954 by Michael John Layton, 2nd Baron Layton (1912–1989) (then a Vice-President of the Council of Europe), together with other members of both Houses of Parliament, Industrialists, Bankers, Economists, and Journalists and Elma Dangerfield. Its main object was to promote closer relations between the European and Atlantic countries by providing a regular forum in Britain for informed discussion of their problems and possibilities for better economic and political co-operation.

The Founders stated that their purpose was to disseminate authoritative information concerning the work of International Organizations such as the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Western European Union, the European Coal and Steel Community, Euratom, the European Economic Community, as well as the European Free Trade Association, the Association for General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, and the Economic Commission for Europe.

In addition to holding monthly dinners and meetings in London, the group sent many delegations abroad to study at first hand the European and NATO institutions in Brussels, Paris, and Luxembourg, as well as visiting Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, as the guests of governments and International Organizations. Group representatives have also visited the United States, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc with the object of improving relations between West and East.

The Group has also held Discussions on European-Atlantic relations with the rest of the world, including the Middle East, Far East, Africa, Afghanistan, and Latin American countries.

The Group's London office was originally at 6 Gertrude Street, Chelsea. The President was the Rt.Hon. The Earl of Bessborough, D.L. (a founder), and there was an impressive list of Vice-Presidents, including the Marquess of Lansdowne, the Earl of Limerick, the Earl Jellicoe, The Lord Carrington, The Lord Chalfont, The Lord Shawcross, The Lord Granchester. Sir Nicholas Henderson, Sir Frederic Bennett, Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Bt., General Sir Harry Tuzo, and Douglas Fairbanks junior. The Chairman was the Rt.Hon. Geoffrey Rippon, Lord Rippon of Hexham, Q.C., Vice-Chairmen were Sir Antony Buck, Q.C., M.P., and Sir W. Hugh-Jones. The Hon.Director was Elma Dangerfield, O.B.E.who co-founded the Group in 1954 and remained active in it in her nineties. Until her decease in January 2006 her co-Director was Justin Glass, who became Finance Director in 1987 and Director in 1992, retiring from the Group in 2012. He was succeeded as Director by Anthony Westnedge, OBE.

Other E-AG Presidents have included The Lord Layton CH CBE, The Rt Hon Earl of Listowel, Sir Geoffrey de Freitas KCMG MP and, since the 1990s, The Earl of Bessborough DL, Sir Frank Roberts GCMG GCVO, The Rt Hon Lord Rippon of Hexham QC, The Lord Dahrendorf, Lord Judd, The Earl of Limerick KBE, The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein CMG CBE, Sir Michael Burton KCVO CMG, The Baroness Hooper CMG, Lord Dykes and the Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernam Dean.

The E-AG hosted Anniversary celebration banquets for the founding of NATO every decade. In 1989, the 40th Anniversary, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was the main Speaker at Guildhall and General John Galvin, US Army, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe also spoke. In 1999 the 50th Anniversary celebration was at Guildhall with HRH the Duke of York, the Secretary-General of NATO Herr Manfred Worner, the Foreign Minister of Poland and 525 influential delegates. In 2009 the 60th Anniversary was held at St James’s Palace with 27 Ambassadors among the delegates and the main speaker again was HRH The Duke of York.

The monthly events of the E-AG were addressed by figures as diverse as President Nyerere of Tanzania, King Hussain of Jordan and his brother Prince Hassan, Ian Duncan-Smith, Michael Howard, David Blunkett, and more recently by Former Presidents - Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Tan Mahathir of Malaysia and Vytautis Landsbergis of Lithuania. Elma Dangerfield was appointed CBE for her work with the Group.

What is now considered an annual event is when two ex-Congressmen representing the Democrat and Republican parties are guests at a Meeting, usually held in November, that concentrates on American Politics both Home and Abroad.

The European-Atlantic Group, a non-aligned, all party, registered charity, is a wide ranging Westminster based group in the field of international relations. Most of the EAG's recent meetings [2018] have been held at Westminster in House of Commons Committee Rooms, but when Parliament is not sitting meetings may be held in the City or elsewhere in London.

Few matters of importance in Europe or America can remain untouched by wider world affairs, so countries such as Afghanistan and South Sudan as well as Lithuania and Ukraine, and many others around the world, have been the subjects of expert discussion and analysis. EAG speakers have included royalty and presidents, the ambassadors of America, China and Russia, ministers, shadow ministers, the head of MI5, and the chiefs of the British armed forces.

The Trustees of the EAG were Lord Hamilton of Epsom and Mr Christopher Arkell until July 2018, when new Trustees were appointed.

The EAG aims to strengthen trans-Atlantic links. The future of the EAG depends on the support of those who care about issues such as defence and security, the UK relationship with America, NATO, and other important international challenges. The EAG is a non-party organisation and is classified as educational by the Charity Commission.

The Director between 2014 and July 2018 was Charles Bennett - https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesanselmbennett/. Meetings held during this period:

2014 - ‘US Politics after the Mid-Term Elections: Congress, the President, and the issues’ - The Honourable Mary Bono (Republican, CA) & The Honourable Brian Baird (Democrat, WA).

2015 - ‘High Command – British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars’. Major-General Christopher Elliott, C.B., M.B.E.

2015 - ‘Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern Europe’ - Edward Lucas and James Sherr.

2015 - ‘The future of the Euro and the prospects of ‘Brexit’ - Professor Patrick Minford. Held in the City of London, sponsored by Xchanging.

2015 - ‘The EU – Russia relationship with special reference to the security of the Baltic States’. The Former President of Lithuania, Professor Vytautas Landsbergis.

2015 - ‘South Sudan: ‘Oil and Blood’ - Civil War continues to undermine the new state’. James Copnall, BBC’s Sudan Correspondent, author of: ‘A Poisonous Thorn in Our Hearts – Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce’, and: Alex Perry, correspondent, contributing editor at 'Newsweek' and author of: 'The Rift – A New Africa Emerges'.

2015 - ‘Greece – the way forward?’ Prof. Kalypso Nicolaidis, Professor of International Relations, Oxford University; Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics & Business Research; Dr Othon Anastasakis, Director, S. E. European Studies, European Studies Centre, University of Oxford - Held in the City of London, sponsored by Xchanging.

2015 - ‘Kurdistan – Its fight against Daesh/ISIS, and its future'. Karwan Jamal Tahir – The Kurdistan Regional Government’s High Representative to the UK. Mithal Al Alusi – Founder, Democratic Nation Party of Iraq & Gary Kent – Director of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan.

2015 - ‘Security and Secrecy, Privacy and Liberty Electronic Surveillance in the wake of the Anderson Report’ - Eric King, Deputy Director at Privacy International and Edward Lucas, Senior Editor at ‘The Economist’, an expert in Intelligence and Cyber-Security issues and author of: ‘The Snowden Operation – Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster’.

2015 - ‘The EU and the Migration Crisis’ - The Hungarian Ambassador, H.E. Péter Szabadhegy.

2015 - ‘Congress, the President, the Issues one year from Election Day’ - The Honorable Tom Petri (Republican - Wisconsin) and The Honorable Jim Moran (Democrat - Virginia).

2016 - ‘The European Union and the Referendum’ -Suzanne Evans – Deputy Chairman of the United Kingdom Independence Party and The Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames MP.

2016 - ‘The Future of Iraq and British policy in the Middle East’ - Mithal Al Alusi, Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, former member of the Commission for De-Ba’athification, the Iraqi Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee, & the Supreme Iraqi Reconciliation Commission.

2016 - ‘The Political and Military Significance of Gibraltar’ - Lieutenant General (Retd) Sir James Dutton KCB CBE, Governor and Commander-in-Chief Gibraltar 2013-15, Commandant General Royal Marines & Commander UK Amphibious Forces 2004-06, Deputy Commander ISAF (Afghanistan) 2008-09.

2016 - ‘Yemen: the war drags on - for what?’ - Dr Elisabeth Kendall, Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford; an expert on Yemen the Middle East, Arabic language and culture, and Al Qaeda.

2016 - ‘Islam in Britain’ - Innes Bowen, BBC, author of 'Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent - Inside British Islam', & Aimen Dean, a former member of al-Qaeda, who changed sides and became a spy for Britain's security & intelligence services spent years working in Afghanistan & London as one of the West's most valuable assets in the fight against militant Islam.

2016 - ‘Pakistan, its Past, Present, and Future’ - Dr Faisal Devji, St Antony's College Oxford, University Reader in Indian & Modern South Asian History.

2016 - US Politics: 'Congress, the President, the Issues after Election Day’ - The Honorable Martin Frost, Democrat, Texas, and The Honorable Phil Gingrey, Republican, Georgia.

2017 - ‘Somaliland – the case for recognition’ - Dr Saad Shire, Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs.

2017 - ‘Zimbabwe: Will Mugabe & ZANU (PF) hold onto power in 2018?’ - Tendai Biti, a leading Zimbabwean opposition figure, a founder of the Movement for Democratic Change and Finance Minister in the Government of National Unity 2009-13; founder of the People’s Democratic Party.

2017 - ‘Poland and the United Kingdom: Post-Brexit Relations’ - H.E. Arkady Józef Rzegocki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland.

2017 - 'Brexit & British-Irish Relations' - Ambassador Dan Mulhall, Ambassador to the UK, Ambassador designate to the U.S.A. Held in the City of London, sponsored by Xchanging.

2017 - ‘The Kurdistan Independence Referendum’ - Karwan Jamal Tahir, High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to the United Kingdom.

2017 - ‘Europe's Forgotten War in Eastern Ukraine’ - Major-General Borys Kremenetskyi, Defence Attaché, Ukrainian Embassy.

2017 - ‘US Politics One Year On from the Presidential Election’ - The Honorable Sam Farr (D-CA) and The Honorable Dan Benishek (R-MI).

2017 - ‘Lithuania and the Defence of the Baltic States’ - H.E. Renatas Norkus, Ambassador of Lithuania to the United Kingdom.

2018 - Strengthening Joint Euro-Atlantic Security Space - A Perspective From Latvia. H.E. Ms Baiba Braže, Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to the U.K.

2018 - Irish Republican Terrorism past, present, & future - Have the IRA Gone Away? Dr William R. Matchett, formerly Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch.

2018 - 'How ordinary democratic process, not violence, got British women the vote’ -Belinda Brown.

The EAG welcomes all who can contribute to and help with its work. See website at: www.eag.org.uk .