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  • The Busan Consensus--A Turning Point?

    On December 18, 2014, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion on the results and implications of last month’s 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Korea. The panelists: Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the U.S. Department of State; Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Agenda & ICT at the Delegation of the European Union; Sally Shipman Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy Development at the Internet Society; Marie Royce, Vice President Public Affairs at Alcatel-Lucent; and Leslie Martinkovics, Director of International Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs at Verizon addressed the outcomes of the ITU Plenipotentiary, the implications for the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, in which openness, transparency and democratic principles can sustainably prevail in the digital age, and the challenges looking ahead to 2015. Dr. Michael Nelson, Adjunct Professor for Internet Studies in the Communication, Culture, & Technology Program at Georgetown University moderated the discussion.

European Affairs

The Journal of the European Institute

ECB Launches $1.28 (€1.1 Trillion) Program to Buy Government Bonds

- By James David Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

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The European Central Bank finally launched (January 22) an unprecedented government-bond buying program – headlined as “quantitative easing” – to pull the European Union back from the precipice of deflation and stimulate economic growth.

The widely expected package calls for national central banks to buy their own country’s government bonds and thereby protect all Europeans from having to cover the loan defaults of profligate member-countries. ECB would, in turn, buy €60 billion ($69 billion) monthly in government bonds from the central banks starting in March. These purchases would continue until at least September 2016, or “until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation which is consistent with our aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2 percent,” ECB President Mario Draghi said. ECB sovereign debt purchases would never exceed more than one-third of a country’s total debt issuance (the ECB holding of each type of bond would be capped at 25 percent). No corporate bonds would be included. Also, interest rates for four-year loans to banks were lowered by 0.10 percentage point, but other ECB borrowing rates were remained the same.

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Perspectives: Cascading Consequences of Russia’s Conquest of Crimea

- By John Barry, Former Defense and National Security Correspondent for Newsweek

john barry 1Russia’s economy is cratering.  An SAS flight from Copenhagen to Poznan in Poland has suddenly to change course to avoid collision with a Russian surveillance aircraft roaming the crowded air-lanes of the southern Baltic with its identifying beacon switched off.  A flight from Finland had a similar near-miss two days earlier.  A third near-disaster came last spring, averted only by the skill of SAS pilots.  Tiny Lithuania (pop three million) is training and equipping 2,500 of its military of 8,000 as a ‘rapid-reaction force’ to respond swiftly to any incursion into its territory.

What connects these recent events?  Answer: Russia’s increasingly embattled President Vladimir Putin.

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Perspectives: 2015 Will be a Year of Transition for Internet Governance

- By Patricia Paoletta, Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, LLP

patricia paolettaLate last year the Republic of Korea hosted the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference, commonly known as the Plenipot, in Busan, South Korea. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an organ of the United Nations and meets every four years at a Plenipot to discuss any possible amendments to its foundational texts – its Constitution and Convention. Last month, The European Institute hosted a special program called The Busan Consensus: A Turning Point at which U.S. Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, who led the U.S. delegation, gave the Korean hosts high praise for facilitating a successful outcome, from U.S. perspective, that emphasized private sector management of the Internet.

December also brought tidings of concern that North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic) may have arranged the hacking of Sony Pictures in retaliation for its planned release of the comedy on Kim Jong-un, The Interview. The two actions, from countries divided geographically only by the 38th Parallel, provides a dramatic contrast in approaches by governments on Internet policy. In late December, North Korea’s Internet nodes suffered from several days’ disruption.

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The U.S. Dollar: Caught between Fatal Attraction and Growing Rejection

- By Jacqueline Grapin, Founder of the European Institute

jgrapinThe short term trend for the dollar is up. The recovery of the U.S. economy, and the combination of FED tightening on one hand and easing by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan on the other, creates a fatal attraction for the dollar. On top of this, U.S. sanctions against Russia push Russians and ruble holders to exchange declining rubles for dollars. Overall this situation will increase the value of the dollar, making it attractive for investors but more burdensome for American exporters.

This dollar surge, however, hides a longer term trend toward de-dollarization. Monetary diversification has become a key political goal for many governments, countries, and institutions.

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"The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy" by Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts; Basic Books; 305 pages

- Reviewed by Laurence Barrett, former Senior Editor Time Magazine

larrybarrettIn 1969 Henry Kissinger, National Security Adviser in Richard Nixon’s new administration, shared his boss’s dissatisfaction with the data and analysis flowing daily from the Central Intelligence Agency. Kissinger decided to enlist an outside expert with top security clearance to evaluate the CIA’s reporting process.

For this delicate task he chose Andrew W. Marshall, who in two decades at the RAND Corporation had become the think tank’s Director of Strategic Studies. Marshall had also earned a reputation among defense intellectuals as an apostate in the cathedral of conventional wisdom.

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OUR MUST READS

- Sarah Lemmons

"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.

 
- Erin Kelly

“The Quiet German” The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world. By George Packer, in "The New Yorker,” Dec. 1.  Excellent piece showing how Merkel has deployed her quiet, laconic, even boring style into an extraordinary political success and become the crucial player in Europe’s handling of the Ukraine crisis and in relations between Europe and both Russia and the U.S. (Recommended by European Affairs).

 
- Natalie Fahey

Banking Union in Nine Questions,” Written statement prepared by Nicolas Véron, Senior Fellow at the Belgian think tank, Bruegel.  Veron provides a clear and authoritative picture of the soon-to-be-implemented EU banking union,  with analysis of its origins and its prospect for success as well as work still to be done.

 

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OUR NEWSROOM

"EU Energy Policy - Challenges & Solutions" with Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic in The Lithuanian Tribune: "Energy Minister Neverovic discussed EU Energy Policy in Washington DC" by Virginijus Sinkevicius

The European Institute's event with Julie Brill & Jan Philipp Albrecht on "Data Protection, Privacy & Security" in The Hill: "Overnight Tech: Showdown on Spying" by Kate Tummarello & Brendan Sasso

The European Institute's event on "Data Protection, Privacy & Security: Re-Establishing Trust between Europe & the United States" in POLITICO: "EU to D.C.: Friends 'do not spy on each other'" by Tony Romm & Erin Mershon

The European Institute's event with Natalia Gherman, Foreign Minister of Moldova in Radio Free Europe: "Moldova's Foreign Minister Seeks U.S. Political, Economic Support"   

The Honorable Richard Bruton T.D., Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at The European Institute in The Irish Times: "Multinationals to advise on tax scheme" by Simon Carswell

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