On April 13, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Secretariat, held a discussion on the implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for EFTA states. Georges Baur, Assistant Secretary-General of EFTA, presented opening remarks on the history and trade relations of EFTA, followed by a panel of experts, moderated by Michael Smart, Vice President of the Rock Creek Global Advisors LLC. The Honorable Gunnar Gunderson, Member of the Norwegian Parliament (Strotinget), discussed the economic opportunity that TTIP has for EFTA and underlined the importance for EFTA to acquire an equal preferential treatment from both the U.S. and EU. The Honorable Thomas Aeschi, Member of the Swiss House of Representatives (Nationalrat), highlighted EFTA’s openness to trade, exemplified by its current 25 FTAs with 35 countries, and encouraged a docking mechanism into TTIP for EFTA, Mexico, and Canada. Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, Founder of Summit Strategies International and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program, outlined the premise of TTIP and the opportunity for the initiative to have an open architecture accessible to third countries. Lastly, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, discussed the obstacles of having TTIP as an open architecture for trade, underlining that most accession clauses in FTAs have never been acted upon.
Rumored for months as the five-year antitrust investigation was finishing, the European Union has formally accused Google of skewing its search results to those companies participating in the search engine’s shopping services. Brussels is also continuing its pursuit of other anti-competitive charges against Google businesses, including the mobile operating system Android, which U.S. rivals have been pressing Washington to launch antitrust litigation against.
“I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “The result [is] that consumers do not see what’s relevant for them,” she added, stressing the commission’s concern for maximizing “consumer choice and innovation” on the Internet. “We are not here to take the side of rivals — we are here to take the side of competition.”Read more...
--The motherland’s obligation to protect Russian speakers abroad.
--Use of energy exports for geopolitical gain.
-- Propaganda laced with lies to promote nationalist fervor.
--Nostalgia for the territorial grandeur of yore.
--Transgressions against weak neighbors.
--Blaming outsiders – read: Americans – for the tensions.
No mystery as to the sum of these parts: Vladimir Putin’s brutal abuse against Ukraine ever since Ukrainians ousted his ally from power in Kiev. With some variation, Moscow’s earlier bullying of Georgia also fits. Throw in feints that prompt angst among several one-time constituents of the USSR, and the Russian president’s status as Europe’s mischief maker extraordinaire is secure.Read more...
A battle is raging in the world of commercial aviation that is pitting legacy European and American airlines against newcomers eager the shake up the market. The United States and European Union must decide whose side, if any, to take, all the while avoiding the unraveling of existing Open Skies agreements that were concluded to foster greater competition.
The spotlight is shining on an effort by the low-cost carrier, Norwegian, to crack open the transatlantic market, and on a bid by Persian Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, to grow their share of inter-continental passenger traffic.Read more...
The recent spat between the U.S. administration and the UK government over the UK decision to join, over U.S. opposition, the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member has triggered much public noise.
Initial reactions on the U.S. side went from surprise to outrage, with Washington accusing British cousins of jeopardizing the global order and the “special relationship,” in the name of short sighted commercial interests. U.S. officials conceded that the lack of progress in implementing the long overdue reform of the governance structure of the big Washington based international organizations, the World Bank and, primarily, the International Monetary Fund, had complicated matters. However, the reaction in Washington to London's decision to ignore U.S. concerns was one of ill concealed anger. When Germany, France and Italy chose to join ranks with the UK, the failure of the US approach, centered around a strategy of increasing containment, was complete.Read more...
George Steiner’s “Idea of Europe”  challenges us. It is a small book, almost a pamphlet. But it is a monument of culture and a challenging and erudite meditation on the idea of Europe and what makes it distinctive. Particularly what makes Europe different from America.
It should probably be compulsory reading for all students in Europe and in the U.S. The Overlook Press, in New York, should be thanked for the initiative of publishing under this title, the Tenth Nexus Lecture of the Intellectual Summit, delivered in 2003, and already a classic.
Anyone who has had the opportunity to listen to George Steiner’s lectures at the University of Geneva, Oxford or Harvard University, or the University of Cambridge (England), where he now lives, never forgets it. He deals with huge topics in a way that makes them simpler than you would think, more important than you had thought, and as poetic as you would wish.Read more...
The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security, Implications for the United States and U.S. Army, published in March by The Rand Corporation. An excellent and up to date summary of the Ukraine crisis and its implications for the U.S. and Europe.
The Commission’s Leadership and the EU Governance, published by the Jacques Delors Institute. A summary of an important conference on the challenges and opportunities of the EU Commission with participation of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and former Commission vice president Etienne Davignon, coming 100 days into the life of the new Commission. Among the substantive and pithy comments Juncker says: “The digital issue is very real, and we are lagging behind. We have not more than two years to bring ourselves up to the level of the U.S. and other global competitors.”
"Charlie Hebdo: What Is To Be Done?" In a compellingly clear assessment of the implications of the asymmetric attacks recently made and planned by Islamist terrorists in Europe, Robert E. Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, outlines clear policy prescriptions for the U.S. and its allies to stem the rise of Islamic extremism.
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