Obituary: Stanley Crossick OBE, European policy expert

Stanley Crossick OBE, European policy expert. Born: 28 November, 1935, in London. Died: 22 November, 2010 in Brussels, aged 74

Stanley Crossick was an influential voice at the heart of government and legislation in Brussels. The European Policy Unit (EPC) which he co-founded in 1997, is an independent, proactive think-tank committed to making European integration work.

The EPC provides its members and the wider public with information and a constructive analysis on the EU. Crossick was keen to promote a balanced dialogue between the varying members of the EU and to take into account their differing social and economic backgrounds.

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Hans Martens, EPC chief executive, commented on his former colleague's work: "Stanley was such a high-energy source of ideas that politicians and policy-makers of many nationalities sought out his analysis and recommendations for dealing with the problems of the day. Stanley was a good listener, saw all sides of every argument and brought a penetrating intelligence to all his endeavours. In recent years, this was most evident in the energy and commitment he brought to building understanding and a mutually beneficial political and diplomatic relationship between the European Union and China."

Stanley Crossick was a scholar at Haberdashers' Aske's School in London and then read law at University College, London, qualifying in 1959. In 1961 he joined the London firm of Franks Charlesly & Company with whom he was connected in a senior capacity until 1979. One of his first public appointments was a significant one: he became honorary secretary, in 1967, of the Law Society's European Group and that was followed, in 1971, by membership of the British Council of the European Movement. Crossick worked tirelessly to ensure that the legal profession understood the political process in Brussels and encouraged lawyers not to concentrate merely on legal principles.

In 1977 he became involved with the Consultative Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Community (CCBE) of which John Edwards, a former judge at the European Court of Justice and now a professor at Edinburgh University, was president. He recalls: "Stanley helped me enormously when I was president.

"He gave me the appropriate information and much wise advice on both people and events. His thinking on Europe and its function was away ahead of the time and he continued to have fresh and innovative plans and ideas right up to his death, particularly on the EU's relationship with China. Stanley thought outside the box; Europe has lost a devoted public servant."

In 1979 Crossick was the founder of Belmont European Community Law Office in Brussels which soon became an influential think-tank.

That was developed into the EPC, of which he was the first chairman in 1998.With all his work at EPC Crossick was concerned to present to the UK the positive role that the EU played in enhancing its financial, economic and social affairs. He often addressed Scottish lawyers on how they could be directly involved in EU law making and helped ease the path for UK solicitors to work in Brussels.

Crossick was an accomplished operator in the corridors of power in Brussels and was a dedicated worker, who insisted on all facts being checked and his final reports were always succinct and to the point. His information gathering and rerouting became a passion - always well researched and informative. His blogs were an integral way of disseminating this information and he had the knack of focusing on key issues that affected European integration.

Crossick was awarded the Ordre Nationale du Mrite for his services to Europe by President Chirac in 2007 and an OBE earlier this year. He combined his passionate beliefs with the practical. His views on Europe were coherent and consistent and very far from being starry-eyed idealism. His work on behalf of European integration remained a paramount factor throughout his life, and he never really retired. Despite recurrent ill health over the past ten years, he continued to make an enormous contribution to policy discussion and debate in Brussels. Indeed his death followed an extensive visit to China during which he had had meetings with many senior Chinese officials.

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Stanley Crossick had lived in Brussels with his Belgian wife, Dahlia, for more than 20 years. She and their daughter and son survive him.