Putin’s Canny Politics in Russian Elections by Gregory Feifer in The Washington Post. Putin detractors in the U.S. and elsewhere may be premature in jumping on the United Russia party’s poor showing in the Duma elections as a sign that the leader is starting to lose his grip on power. In the view of this close Russia-watcher, it’s not the party, stupid, it’s Putin. United Russia is only a stalking horse. Recommended by European Affairs. (12/8)

On July 7, 2011, The Honorable András Kármán, Hungarian State Secretary for Tax and Financial Regulation at the Ministry of National Economy, who personally coordinated the negotiations between EU Member States and the European Parliament during Hungary’s Presidency of the European Council, on a number of key legislative initiatives, including the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, offered his insight into what was accomplished and the challenges that still lay ahead in the European Union’s push for sustainable financial and economic stability.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier has really thrown down the gauntlet to the financial industry’s domineering lobby, not only in the European Union but, by extension, in the U.S. as well because American banks are so entrenched in Europe.

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The Roundtable featured a delegation from the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee including:  The Honorable Pervenche Berès, Chairwoman of the Committee, The Honorable John Purvis, Vice-Chairman of the Committee, The Honorable Wolf Klinz, The Honorable Ieke van de Burg and The Honorable Mariela Baeva.  In light of the recent call to establish a European Systematic Risk Council as an early warning system and the upcoming G20 summit in London, the participants engaged in a vivid discussion on the right balance of regulation, surveillance, stimulus packages and bailouts as well as on the possible resulting distortions in the market. The delegation discussed the current financial crises and reform proposals for the regulatory framework of the financial sector.  Presenting a U.S. perspective, Ethiopis Tafara, Director of International Affairs of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission addressed the need for collective action regarding financial regulation in light of the upcoming G20 summit in London – but also stressed the importance of finding common parameters rather than identical solutions.  Oliver Moss, Senior Vice President at Bank of America moderated the discussion.