EA March 2015

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EU Antitrust Action against Google: High Stakes for Europe's digital landscape

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Spellman 1Rumored 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.”[1]

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Future of “Open Skies” in Peril? New Carriers from Norway and Gulf Spark Debate

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Brian BearyA 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.

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The Idea of Europe. An Essay. By George Steiner

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jacquelinegrapin2013George Steiner’s “Idea of Europe” [1] challenges us. It is a small book, almost a pamphlet. But it is a monument of culture and a challenging and erudite meditation on the idea of Europe and what makes it distinctive. Particularly what makes Europe different from America.

It should probably be compulsory reading for all students in Europe and in the U.S. The Overlook Press, in New York, should be thanked for the initiative of publishing under this title, the Tenth Nexus Lecture of the Intellectual Summit, delivered in 2003, and already a classic.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to listen to George Steiner’s lectures at the University of Geneva, Oxford or Harvard University, or the University of Cambridge (England), where he now lives, never forgets it. He deals with huge topics in a way that makes them simpler than you would think, more important than you had thought, and as poetic as you would wish.

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Perspective: U.S. Loses in Attempt to Isolate New Chinese Development Bank

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alexanderprivitera

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.

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Perspectives: Misreading Putin: New Concerns from NATO and the British House of Lords

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johnbarryThrough the past year, German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama – architects of the West’s responses in Ukraine -- were united in choosing to see Putin’s actions as less threatening, his ambitions less expansive.  That was the bedrock of their partnership on the issue.  Ukraine was a discrete problem, of no more than regional significance, amenable to a political settlement, not to be escalated. 

But Europe finds itself now facing a potential confrontation so freighted with risk that NATO’s deputy military commander warned two weeks ago that “the threat from Russia, together with the risk it brings of miscalculation resulting in a slide into strategic conflict, however remote we see that as being right now, represents an obvious existential threat to our whole being…”

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