On February 3, 2015, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion with The Honorable Bernd Lange, Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee for International Trade. Mr. Lange called for a fresh start to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations and highlighted key areas of concern for the European Parliament, including increased transparency on the negotiations themselves, as well as such contentious issues as Investment State Dispute Settlement provisions. Chairman Lange also applauded recent moves by the European Commission to allow more transparency in the negotiation process, but expressed doubt that negotiations would conclude by the end of this year. A more reasonable target deadline would be mid-2016, with the cumbersome ratification process carrying well into the next U.S. Administration's tenure.
The new Greek political leadership is learning how painful it is to transition from a populist political campaign platform to the actual job of governing a country in the euro area. Only days after promising voters a clean break with the recent past, the illusion that Greece could regain full sovereignty within the monetary union is already being replaced by a well-known pattern of jockeying for a better negotiating position. For the moment, Alexis Tsipras, the new prime minister, does not appear to have a coherent plan.Read more...
The European Central Bank finally launched (January 22) an unprecedented government-bond buying program – headlined as “quantitative easing” – to pull the European Union back from the precipice of deflation and stimulate economic growth.
The widely expected package calls for national central banks to buy their own country’s government bonds and thereby protect all Europeans from having to cover the loan defaults of profligate member-countries. ECB would, in turn, buy €60 billion ($69 billion) monthly in government bonds from the central banks starting in March. These purchases would continue until at least September 2016, or “until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation which is consistent with our aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2 percent,” ECB President Mario Draghi said. ECB sovereign debt purchases would never exceed more than one-third of a country’s total debt issuance (the ECB holding of each type of bond would be capped at 25 percent). No corporate bonds would be included. Also, interest rates for four-year loans to banks were lowered by 0.10 percentage point, but other ECB borrowing rates were remained the same.Read more...
Russia’s economy is cratering. An SAS flight from Copenhagen to Poznan in Poland has suddenly to change course to avoid collision with a Russian surveillance aircraft roaming the crowded air-lanes of the southern Baltic with its identifying beacon switched off. A flight from Finland had a similar near-miss two days earlier. A third near-disaster came last spring, averted only by the skill of SAS pilots. Tiny Lithuania (pop three million) is training and equipping 2,500 of its military of 8,000 as a ‘rapid-reaction force’ to respond swiftly to any incursion into its territory.
What connects these recent events? Answer: Russia’s increasingly embattled President Vladimir Putin.Read more...
"Charlie Hebdo: What Is To Be Done?" In a compellingly clear assessment of the implications of the asymmetric attacks recently made and planned by Islamist terrorists in Europe, Robert E. Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, outlines clear policy prescriptions for the U.S. and its allies to stem the rise of Islamic extremism.
“The Quiet German” The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world. By George Packer, in "The New Yorker,” Dec. 1. Excellent piece showing how Merkel has deployed her quiet, laconic, even boring style into an extraordinary political success and become the crucial player in Europe’s handling of the Ukraine crisis and in relations between Europe and both Russia and the U.S. (Recommended by European Affairs).
“Banking Union in Nine Questions,” Written statement prepared by Nicolas Véron, Senior Fellow at the Belgian think tank, Bruegel. Veron provides a clear and authoritative picture of the soon-to-be-implemented EU banking union, with analysis of its origins and its prospect for success as well as work still to be done.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from our site and redistribute by email or post to the web.