Deloitte at the Brussels Forum 2015

German Marshall Fund of the US (GMF)

The GMF Brussels Forum is a yearly high-level event designed to create an environment and opportunity for real discussion with leading experts from North America and Europe on pressing global issues. Participants include heads of state, senior officials from the European Union institutions and the member states, U.S. cabinet officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, academics, and media. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Brussels Forum, held on 20-22 March 2015, and GMF invited Deloitte to be a part of the first group of members to co-chair the event.

Frank Friedman, CEO, Deloitte LLP was one of four co-chairs for the Brussels Forum 2015. Other co-chairs included: Herman Van Rompuy, Former President of the European Council (2009-2014); Dieter Zetsche, Chairman, Daimler; and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Political Strategist and Former US National Security Advisor (1977-1981).

This year’s theme of the forum – (R)evolution – focused on the striking changes on both sides of the Atlantic and at the global level. Basic assumptions about economic and political stability, energy, security, social models, and the pace of innovation have been challenged, and in some cases overturned. How much of this change is evolution? How much is revolution? What does it tell us about future trends – and shocks – and the meaning for transatlantic and global strategy? Details on the Brussels Forum Agenda can be found here.

A highlight of participants attending this year’s meeting is available here.

Deloitte 2015 Delegation:

Deloitte on the Brussels Forum program

Global Competition – Can Transatlantic Economies Compete?

While the financial and economic crises have severely and durably reshaped the transatlantic economies, they have also reshuffled the cards of global economic power. Emerging economies are now directly competing with both the United States and the European economies. In this evolving global economic environment, can the United States and Europe exercise the political will required to build new social and economic frameworks to allow trade to flourish and economic growth to occur? What is the role and what are the prospects for these economies? Whichever path its leaders choose, the transatlantic community’s ability to compete globally will dramatically change economic relations at large. There are lessons to be learned from each other, as well as other countries, that have had to adjust their own role in the global economy over the last two decades. In particular, policy makers need to learn from businesses whose globalized activities have redefined the way people exchange and interact. In a time of uncertainty, there is an ever-greater need to define new rules for new economies.


  • Frank Friedman, CEO, Deloitte LLP
  • Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman, Daimler
  • The Hon. Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, European Commission
  • The Hon. Jeff Sessions, Member, U.S. Senate
  • Moderator: Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, Financial Times

Good for business, but good for all? Millennials in the workforce

Across the globe, Millennials are emerging as the most educated generation yet – however Millennials have different priorities for their careers and organizations than the current generation in power. They prioritize employees’ well-being and development, as well as their employer's contributions to society more than their own salaries and the company’s profit margins. A majority of Millennials are choosing their jobs based on a "sense of purpose"—and often this generational divide is stronger than any cultural divide. From Argentina to Belgium, Turkey to Japan, Deloitte surveyed over 7,500 Millennials in 29 countries to produce its 2015 Millennial Survey. This session will explore its results, opening up a dialogue about millennials’ priorities across sectors and what leaders can learn from this population to ensure a robust and ready workforce in the future.


  • Rik Vanpeteghem, CEO, Deloitte Belgium
  • Esther Brimmer, Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

The Coming Battle of the Ages and the Challenges to Post-Industrial Societies

The discussion of income and wealth disparities generally focus on how the gains of those in the higher income and wealth brackets differ from the experience of those at the lower end of the spectrum. This debate about growing inequality has picked up steam on both sides of the Atlantic following the Great Recession and the euro crisis. Yet, there is another potential battle brewing that is not simply rich against poor, but young against old. Several studies have indicated that the younger generations in Europe and the United States were particularly affected by the economic turmoil of the past years. In addition, the transatlantic partners are both faced with long-term trends of youth unemployment, aging populations, and increasing proportions of the GDP being allocated to supporting retiree populations. Now is the time to consider the long-term impact of these trends on economic growth and to develop strategies to cope with this new world situation.

Discussion leader: Dr. Patricia Buckley, Director, Deloitte United States

A Global Trading (Dis)order?

Trade policy in the United States and Europe has shifted toward bilateral and regional agreements in the last decade. Without negating the global trading system and the ongoing process at the World Trade Organization, Americans and Europeans have strengthened targeted approaches to strategic economic relations. They are committed to setting global standards for the future, maximizing the benefits of increasingly opened markets, as well as tackling the rise of new global economies that are now directly challenging transatlantic economic leadership. In addition, other regions of the world have embraced much more localized initiatives. Whether in Asia, Africa, or among BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) directly, these initiatives may give rise to new and less orderly patterns of trade and investment. To what extent is the multiplication of bilateral or regional agreements threatening the global trading order? Is the likelihood of a patchwork of agreements detrimental to the multilateral approach, or is it complementary? In a way, are transatlantic partners strengthening the global trading order, or are they leading to its disorder? How are emerging and developing economies contributing to the global trading system as a whole? And in this context, what future role is there for the WTO?

Discussion leader: Jim Quigley, CEO Emeritus, DTTL

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