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Former Deputy Director-General of DG Trade Joins Covington

June 6, 2016

BRUSSELSAmbassador Péter Balás, the former Deputy Director-General of DG Trade at the European Commission between 2005 and 2014, has joined Covington as a Senior Policy Advisor. Recently Ambassador Balás also held the position of Head of the Support Group for Ukraine at the European Commission. He was previously Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Hungary to the World Trade Organization.

Ambassador Balás has also held several positions with the Hungarian Government, including as Deputy State Secretary for International Economic Relations at the Ministries of Economic Affairs (1996-2000) and Foreign Affairs (2000-2002), Assistant State Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade (1994-1996), and Director-General in the Ministry of International Economic Relations in Budapest (1991-1994).

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, head of Covington’s International practice, said, “As a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and current co-chair of the Trans-Atlantic Business Council, I know that Péter Balás is held in the highest esteem by his colleagues in the European Commission, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, and in the private business community on both sides of the Atlantic. He will be a great addition to our firm’s Brussels office, particularly as we move forward with TTIP, but on many other issues as well.”

Sebastian Vos, chair of Covington’s European Public Policy and Government Affairs practice, commented, “Covington has a track-record of handling some of the most significant and complex international trade issues for our clients. With Péter Balás on board in Brussels, our ability to serve clients in this area is further strengthened. We are delighted to have him with us, particularly at a time when there are so many important trade policy issues and developments under discussion.”

Ambassador Balás added, “Covington’s outstanding reputation among policymakers around the world made this a compelling proposition. I am very pleased to be joining such an ambitious and well-regarded team that places legal, regulatory, and policy expertise at the heart of its practice.”

Ambassador Balás holds a Doctor's degree in Economics from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences.

The largest public policy and government affairs practice of any law firm in the EU, Covington’s European team advises clients on a range of European public policy issues, including the EU policy-making processes and the functioning of the European institutions. The team includes a range of former policymakers:

  • Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden;
  • Ambassador Jean De Ruyt, one of the most experienced diplomats in Europe, who was most recently the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union;
  • Ambassador Karel Kovanda, the former Deputy Director General of External Relations (now the European External Action Service) at the European Commission;
  • Erika Mann, former Member of the European Parliament;
  • Kevin Coates, former Head of Unit at DG Competition;
  • Paul Adamson, a pioneer and leader in European public affairs;
  • Stuart E. Eizenstat, former U.S. Ambassador to the EU.

Covington’s International Trade practice offers a full range of services to the world’s leading companies and acts as advisors and advocates on projects and transactions presenting novel and complex issues, often of national and international importance. The firm’s lawyers and policy experts have held senior positions in the European Commission, European Parliament, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce.

According to Chambers Global 2016, “Covington is the best firm when dealing with integrated USA-EU advice." This year Chambers USA selected Covington for its 2016 Award for Excellence in International Trade, noting Covington’s “dominant international trade group” as being “at the forefront of the market and… renowned for its outstanding work across CFIUS, export controls, economic sanctions, trade remedies and policy issues.”


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