In preparation for the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago this spring, The European Institute convened a distinguished panel on Decembereinatomtg1220113 15, 2011 to discuss the evolution of the U.S. – E.U.-NATO relationship. Antonella Cerasino, head of the NATO Countries Section in the Public Diplomacy Division at NATO; Ambassador Robert Hunter, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Security Studies at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University; Ambassador Kurt Volker, Managing Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Brigadier General Bruno Caitucoli, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of France; and Rory Dunn, Political Counselor at the Delegation of the European Union in Washington participated. einatomtg1220112The discussion was moderated by Leo Michel, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. The gist of issues explored by the EI forum’s far-ranging discussion is available here in a report by John Barry, written in compliance with Chatham House rules.

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In the stepped-up Western sanctions on Iran – now at “unprecedented levels” – a significant and enabling development has been the agreement of Germany to participate in the pan-European embargo on Iranian oil after years of reluctance in Berlin to act so strongly against Tehran.

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A decision to halt EU oil imports from Iran, taken Monday by a meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers, marks the strongest step taken so far by Europe to counter Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions.

It coincided with an expansion of U.S. sanctions (which have long barred Iranian oil) to include Iran’s third-largest bank. A steeper financial escalation is under active consideration by the Obama administration in the form of action to cut U.S. dealings with Iran’s central bank and press allied capitals to join in isolating Iran financially. Such a move would make it harder for Tehran to use oil revenues for international purchases aimed at strengthening the country’s nuclear program.

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On January 18, 2012, The European Institute welcomed back Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. With characteristic candor and clarity, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn presented the European Commission’s bold, new Horizon 2020 proposal, that is focused on improving Europe’s science base and research infrastructure, strengthening Europe’s leadership in key industrial technologies, and facilitating research and innovation that address societal challenges. Horizon 2020 carries an €80 billion budget for 2014-2020, renews emphasis on pooling and sharing across member states, and proposes major simplification and harmonization to ensure effective implementation of its policy objectives. Dr. Alan Leshner, Chief Executive Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science introduced the Commissioner and Kathryn Karol, Vice President for International Government Affairs at Amgen Inc. moderated the discussion.

Click here to read Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's remarks.

On December 21, 2011, The Honorable Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus presented her perspective on the priorities of the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and shared her thoughts on Cyprus’ and the EU’s approach to a rapidly evolving  economic and political order in the region.