On May 5, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the French Ministry of Interior, convened a workshop on the evolution of terrorist financing with leading experts in the field, including The Honorable Jean-Louis Bruguière, former High Representative of the European EU to the U.S. for the Fight against Financing of Terrorism within the framework of “Terrorism Finance Tracking Program/SWIFT”; Ismael Nevares, Jr., Narcotics and Counterterrorism Director at the IRS’s Criminal Investigations unit; Jean-Baptiste Carpentier, Director of TRACFIN at the French Ministry of Finance, and Jean Denis Pesme, Manager of the Financial Market Integrity team and Coordinator of the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative at the World Bank.
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.
On April 9, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Union Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, held a luncheon discussion with The Honorable Alain Lamassoure, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings. Mr. Lamassoure highlighted the democratic strides that have been made to further legitimize EU institutions since the Lisbon Treaty, and underlined the positive economic and financial governance reforms that have helped renew the European economy. He also emphasized the importance of key Juncker Commission initiatives such as the investment plan for Europe, the Energy Union and the Digital Singe towards furthering European growth and global competitiveness. Lastly, Mr. Lamassoure advocated for a harmonized European solution as well as transatlantic cooperation on curbing corporate tax inversion, in order to promote a fair and level playing field for all companies. Professor Joseph Cordes, Professor of Economics, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs at George Washington University moderated the discussion.
On March 26, 2015, The European Institute held a luncheon discussion with His Excellency David O’Sullivan, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States. Ambassador O’Sullivan highlighted key initiatives within the European Union to spur sustainable economic growth such as the EU Investment Plan, the Energy Union, and the Digital Single Market, but he also acknowledged that Europe has its challenges, including countering Euroscepticism, negative attitudes toward migration, and such core foreign policy issues as the Ukraine crisis and growing instability in the Middle East. Ambassador O’Sullivan emphasized the need for the U.S. and the EU to take advantage of opportunities for greater transatlantic unity, such as cooperation on climate change policies in the walk-up to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, moving forward in addressing data protection and privacy concerns, as well as advancing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) initiative.
On March 17, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, held a meeting on the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. In attendance was a delegation of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee. The Honorable Giovanni La Via, Chairman of the ENVI Committee opened the roundtable and underlined the importance of EU-U.S. cooperation to materialize an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris. Reid Detchon, Vice President of Energy and Climate Strategy at the United Nations Foundation then highlighted the positive momentum toward Paris, with events like the climate change marches in New York and the U.S.-China climate agreement representing a global shift on attitudes toward climate change. Lastly, Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, highlighted the positive undertakings that the U.S. has made and the opportunity for further reform with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.
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