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Ulster Economist Elected to Top EU Role

29 April 2010

Michael Smyth, Head of School of Economics, has been elected President of the ECO (Economic and Monetary Union) section of the European Economic and Social Committee, one the most influential organisations in the European Union.

The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups, and others, a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the larger institutions - the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. And because it also scrutinishes draft legislation from the Commission and European Council it thus has a key role to play in the Union's decision-making process.

“ This is a seat at the top table,” said Smyth. As President of ECO, I will have access to all the key decision-makers in the European Commission and Parliament.”

Smyth said that an early priority for his two and a half year  tenure of the role is to establish strong links with influential think tanks and policy institutes throughout the European Union, to ensure that ECO and the EESC re  at the forefront of thought and action in the fields of economic and social policy, rather than – as in the past – reacting to events.

He takes up office on October 1 2010.

PODCAST: Mike Smyth talks to David Young about his election as President of ECO, and shares his views on the current economic crisis facing Europe  as Greece, Portugal and Spain have their credit ratings downgraded by the international credit rating agencies