chrisboam2013On a foggy night in October 2003, my wife and I found ourselves late for an expected arrival in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.  Shortly after dark, we entered a part of the Dingle Peninsula route known as the Conor Pass, not being at all adequately briefed as to what this road entailed.  At one point, my wife – who had taken over the driving – asked me what I was looking at.  The real answer was indeed “nothing,” for despite the pitch-blackness, it had been clear to me for at least a mile that we were driving along the edge of a shear cliff face.  I did my best at being nonchalant.  “Just keep focused on the road ahead, and we can talk about it in Tralee.”  We did arrive safely, but still, I made sure that we ordered pints before looking at guidebook pictures of the Pass.

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ryan barnes photo 2By Ryan Barnes, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce

Gibraltar, also known as “The Rock”  for the iconic Rock of Gibraltar that towers over the western entrance of the Mediterranean, is a roughly two and a half square mile patch of land on the southern tip of Spain, straddling the Strait of Gibraltar that separates the European continent from Morocco. Once again, tempers have flared in London and Madrid, this time over Gibraltar’s plans to expand a reef in the Mediterranean, souring an otherwise sound partnership between the United Kingdom and Spain.

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lamassoureEurope is at the crossroads.  Of course, whenever we speak about Europe or transatlantic relations, we are always at the crossroads, but it’s at a crossroad on four major issues.  The next 18 months will be decisive to know whether Europe will choose the right direction or not.

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On July 18, 2013, The European Institute welcomed The Honorable Alain Lamassoure, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and lead negotiator on the European Union’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework (2014-2020) to discuss the prospects and challenges facing the European Union. In a masterful presentation, Mr. Lamassoure outlined why the next 18 months will be decisive in determining the future of the European Union. This meeting was held in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Lamassoure's remarks can be found here.

On July 16, 2013, The European Institute welcomed The Honorable Peter Liese, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for inclusion of aviation in the ETS, The Honorable Julie Oettinger, Assistant Administrator for Policy at the Federal Aviation Administration, and John Schmitz, Partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, to discuss the future of global regulation of aviation emissions. The panelists discussed the contested extension of the Emissions Trading Scheme to the aviation sector by the European Union and the prospects for reaching agreement on a global framework at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s plenary meeting this September. The discussion was moderated by Annie Petsonk, International Counsel at Environmental Defense Fund.