On April 17, 2015, The European Institute, in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania, held a discussion on Lithuania’s adoption of the Euro and the advantages and obstacles of the Eurozone with The Honorable Andrius Kubilius, former Prime Minister of Lithuania and Leader of the Opposition in the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), and Antonio de Lecea, Principal Advisor for Economic & Financial Affairs at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. Mr. Kubiliusstated that Lithuania’s accession to the European Monetary Union was core to his country’s strategic infrastructure integration within the Euro-Atlantic community. Although the Lithuanian economy shrank by 15% during the financial crisis, it is now boasts one of the fastest growing in Europe. Looking ahead, Mr. Kubilius noted, Lithuania will prioritize biotechnology and service industries in order to build sustainable economic growth and ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace. Beyond the considerable achievements of the European Monetary Union since its creation, Mr. de Lecea more needs to be done in terms of investment, structural reforms, the integration of markets and the adjustment of legal divergences that have so far stymied the creation of a proper banking union. If all member states reformed and narrowed divergences, they would see an annual growth of 6% over the next decade. In June, the Presidents of the Council, Commission, Eurogroup and the European Central Bank will release a medium to long-term blueprint to those ends.
Who is Vladimir Putin, and why does he behave the way he does? Much has been written, but little has been revealed. It has been said that Putin represents a return to Bolshevik rule. But what does this mean? Part of the answer may be found in “The Bolshevik Code,” the operational value system of the Soviet leadership before the fall of communism in 1991. Putin is a 21st Century incarnation of The Bolshevik Code, and his conduct is better understood with reference to this Code.Read more...
Rumored for months as the five-year antitrust investigation was finishing, the European Union has formally accused Google of skewing its search results to those companies participating in the search engine’s shopping services. Brussels is also continuing its pursuit of other anti-competitive charges against Google businesses, including the mobile operating system Android, which U.S. rivals have been pressing Washington to launch antitrust litigation against.
“I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “The result [is] that consumers do not see what’s relevant for them,” she added, stressing the commission’s concern for maximizing “consumer choice and innovation” on the Internet. “We are not here to take the side of rivals — we are here to take the side of competition.”Read more...
--The motherland’s obligation to protect Russian speakers abroad.
--Use of energy exports for geopolitical gain.
-- Propaganda laced with lies to promote nationalist fervor.
--Nostalgia for the territorial grandeur of yore.
--Transgressions against weak neighbors.
--Blaming outsiders – read: Americans – for the tensions.
No mystery as to the sum of these parts: Vladimir Putin’s brutal abuse against Ukraine ever since Ukrainians ousted his ally from power in Kiev. With some variation, Moscow’s earlier bullying of Georgia also fits. Throw in feints that prompt angst among several one-time constituents of the USSR, and the Russian president’s status as Europe’s mischief maker extraordinaire is secure.Read more...
A battle is raging in the world of commercial aviation that is pitting legacy European and American airlines against newcomers eager the shake up the market. The United States and European Union must decide whose side, if any, to take, all the while avoiding the unraveling of existing Open Skies agreements that were concluded to foster greater competition.
The spotlight is shining on an effort by the low-cost carrier, Norwegian, to crack open the transatlantic market, and on a bid by Persian Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, to grow their share of inter-continental passenger traffic.Read more...
The recent spat between the U.S. administration and the UK government over the UK decision to join, over U.S. opposition, the Chinese led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member has triggered much public noise.
Initial reactions on the U.S. side went from surprise to outrage, with Washington accusing British cousins of jeopardizing the global order and the “special relationship,” in the name of short sighted commercial interests. U.S. officials conceded that the lack of progress in implementing the long overdue reform of the governance structure of the big Washington based international organizations, the World Bank and, primarily, the International Monetary Fund, had complicated matters. However, the reaction in Washington to London's decision to ignore U.S. concerns was one of ill concealed anger. When Germany, France and Italy chose to join ranks with the UK, the failure of the US approach, centered around a strategy of increasing containment, was complete.Read more...
Why Are Germans So Sympathetic to Russia? By Markus Ziener, Non-Resident Fellow at German Marshall Fund of the United States, based in Berlin, published April 21 by GMF. Interesting discussion of why so many Germans are willing to give Russia the benefit of the doubt in the ongoing Ukraine crisis and why continuation of sanctions represents potential political issue for Chancellor Merkel.
Greece and Sisyphus, When Myths Risk Becoming a Reality, by Alexander Privitera, AICGS. Good sketch of the extremely high stakes at play for the the Greek government, as it seeks to avoid a default and maintain the support of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Privitera is a member of the Board of Advisors of the European Institute’s European Affairs Journal.
The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security, Implications for the United States and U.S. Army, published in March by The Rand Corporation. An excellent and up to date summary of the Ukraine crisis and its implications for the U.S. and Europe.
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