Brighton rocks for European ministers’ conference

Brighton today, 20 April, finishes playing host to 47 European ministers and 66 heads of EU delegations this week, with the Brighton Centre in the spotlight as host venue. 

The UK organised, at the Brighton Centre within the framework of the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, a high level conference on the future of the European Court of Human Rights in the south-east coastal resort, 18-20 April 2012.

All political eyes are on the outcome, or possible ‘Brighton Declaration’, which could do for the city what the Maastricht and Schengen treaties did for those towns.

“With the delegation coming from across the whole of Europe, this conference has provided a perfect platform for us to showcase both the Brighton Centre and the City,” Head of Tourism and Leisure at Brighton and Hove City Council Adam Bates tells CN.

“There are many complexities in hosting a conference of this size but with the help of our partner businesses, we have been able to deliver a truly memorable event. Since January, Brighton has secured future conference business that will deliver £80m in economic benefit to the city. We are confident that we will be able to add to this amount from the exposure Brighton has received over the past two days.”

There has been tough security and Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke was a key conference speaker and making headlines attacking the European courts for “scandalous delays”. The Council of Europe will ultimately decide whether to accept a substantial rewriting of the European Convention on Human Rights to allow national courts more powers.

As well as the ministers, 400 delegates have been attending the conference.

Government organisers of the conference reportedly spent £600,000 on the conference, with sticks of seaside rock lettered with ‘Council of Europe’ displayed at the conference.

An evening heads of delegation dinner was held in the Royal Pavilion, while The Thistle Hotel hosted the heads of delegation.

All delegates were invited to Brighton Pier to enjoy traditional fish and chips, as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office did its best to provide a taste of real England as part of a big social event.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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