Viscount Étienne Davignon is a Belgian Minister of State and President of the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations. Previously, he held various high–level positions in the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before becoming European Economic Community Vice President in charge of industry, research and energy from 1977—1984.Viscount Davignon has had a successful career in the private sector as well, serving as Chairman and then Vice–Chairman of Société Générale de Belgique, Belgium’s leading holding company. He is currently Vice–Chairman of Suez–Tractebel and Vice–President of Umicore and is a member of the Board of several multinational companies, including Suez and Sofina. He is also President of the Paul–Henri Spaak Foundation and of the “Palais des Beaux–Arts” and is the External Representative of the Economic Category of the Haute Ecole of the Institut Catholique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in Brussels. Viscount Davignon also currently serves as President of Friends of Europe.