April - May 2010

Transatlantic Trade: Now Is The Time For Audacity

Recovery Would Benefit From A Strong Push

There is an alarming absence of movement in the United States and Europe in the international trade field, especially in the transatlantic dimension. Despite the economic crisis, we have, at least so far, not seen any major reversal in the current trading order. This is partly thanks to the recognition of the intricate dependencies woven around global manufacturing, investment and even services over the last decades. Recognition of this reality has led most governments to abide by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


NATO's Planned "Strategic Concept" Is Not Enough

Only A New “Grand Bargain” On Transatlantic Solidarity Can Meet Deepest Challenges

NATO’s new Strategic Concept will set out ambitious goals and means for the alliance, but it seems likely to paper over the cracks which are beginning to separate U.S. interests and attitudes from those of most of its European allies.


Shale Gas in Europe—Liberation or Pipe Dream?

Nikos Tsafos is a Manager specializing in natural gas with PFC Energy.

U.S. Success Not A Blueprint For Europe

Europe, a continent where energy security--or insecurity--is a major source of anxiety, is beginning to look at the US success with shale gas, tight gas, and coal-bed methane gas, known collectively as “unconventional gas,” as a possible source of deliverance from its energy troubles. And the Russians, who are Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas, are genuinely worried that production could take off. Alexander Medvedev, the deputy head of Gazprom, recently expressed concern that gas from shale in the United States was a “dangerous development.” He meant, of course, that shale gas could perpetuate the current glut in global supplies, keeping profits down for Gazprom.


European Parliament Inaugurates Its Own Liaison Office In Washington

Initiative Underscores New Reach of This EU Institution

Keen to exercise some new muscle gained in the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has been quick off the mark to send its own man to Washington to work with Congress. The new liaison office – an overseas first for the parliament – will be formally inaugurated in the U.S. capital at the end of April. This initiative has long been encouraged by proponents of denser dialogue between Brussels and Washington, who have long pressed the need for more contacts between legislators from the EU and Washington. (A matching U.S. initiative, to open a Congressional office in Brussels, has always fallen on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.)


U.S. Makes Major Move On Broadband

Obama Administration Releases FCC’s “National Broadband Plan"

A plan to drastically reshape America’s broadband policy was released amid great anticipation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March 2010. The National Broadband Plan (known as the NBP or just “the Plan”)[1], it is a sweeping set of proposals produced in response to the Congress’s direction (in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA to develop a plan with the primary objective of providing ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband service throughout America.  The ARRA also required that the Plan set forth a detailed strategy for utilizing broadband to advance a set of broad policy goals, including “consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes.”[2]

  • High Skills versus Family-Based Immigration Policy: Complex Considerations.

    By Nicholas Zill

    In the current era of rapid demographic and technological change, and massive refugee flows, there has been much debate in European nations and in the US about immigration policies. One of the major points of contention is whether preferences should be given to would-be entrants on the basis of their high skills (merit-based immigration) or their family ties to individuals already residing in the country (family reunification).

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UMD Jean Monnet Research Project

Infrastructure Planning and Financing: Lessons from Europe and the United States

The University of Maryland has received a Jean Monnet grant from the EU to conduct a series of policy exchanges between Europe and the US on filling infrastructure needs and the utility of public/private partnerships as the financing mechanism. If interested in participating in or receiving more information about these exchanges, please contact Rye McKenzie (rmckenzi@umd.edu).

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New from the Bertelsmann Foundation

The Bertelsmann Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC with a transatlantic perspective on global challenges.

"Edge of a Precipice" by Nathan Crist

"Newpolitik" by Emily Hruban


Summer Course