Phil Bolton for GlobalAtlanta
John Bruton, the European Union’s ambassador to the United States, is to visit Atlanta on Thursday, Sept. 14, to speak at a luncheon with local businesspeople, the city’s Consular Corps and academic officials and students at Emory University. The event is complimentary and open to the public, but reservations are mandatory. See

Mr. Bruton, who heads the European Commission Delegation to the U.S., also is scheduled to visit Savannah on Friday, Sept. 15 where he is to speak at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

A former prime minister of Ireland from 1994-97, Mr. Bruton oversaw the transformation of the Irish economy into one of the fastest growing economies in the world. During his time in office, the Irish economy grew at an annual rate of 8.7 percent, peaking at 11.1 percent in 1997.

He also was involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In addition, he served as a leading member of the caucus that drafted the first-ever European Constitution that was signed in Rome on Oct. 29, 2004, and is now before the 25 E.U. member states for ratification.

During a filmed and wide-ranging interview in his Washington office with GlobalAtlanta, which was arranged by James Gaffey of The Gaffey Group, Mr. Bruton said he looked forward to his visit as a means of developing personal and official relationships in the state.

He encouraged local businesspeople with questions about E.U. regulations concerning issues such as food and port security or customs practices to become involved in the union’s regulatory decision-making process.

He also spoke about the changing nature of E.U.-U.S. relations since the end of the cold war, and underlined the importance of economic trans-Atlantic relations.

“I think that there is a tendency for people to take what is already there for granted,” he said. “We take our stable relations in life for granted and we are fascinated by the new ones we are about to develop…that we forget that the stable business is trans-Atlantic trade.”

He added that while there is an enormous infatuation in both the U.S. and Europe with new markets in Latin America, China and India, “Europe is America’s most important customer and America is Europe’s most important customer and that will remain the case for the next 20 years or more…we should not neglect that.”

During the interview Mr. Bruton discussed other topics including the importance of a company that does business in Europe to have an office in Brussels.

He also spoke of Europe’s need to increase its birth rate, the future of the European market, Europe’s role as a model for other regional markets, the importance of people-to-people exchanges and his interest in talking about Europe with high school students.

To attend the luncheon at the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning where Mr. Bruton is to speak on “Building Peace and Prosperity: How the E.U. Partnership Creates Jobs, Trade and Security for Europeans and Americans,” call Rebekah Fitzsimmons at (404) 727-7504.

Mr. Bruton is to give a similar luncheon address at Armstrong Atlantic State University. To make a reservation call (912) 921-5967 or send an email to

For more information, Mr. Gaffey may be reached by email at To learn more about The Gaffey Group, go to or call (770) 448-0685.