On November 4, 2015, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion with The Honorable Timothy Kirkhope, rapporteur for the relocation of refugees on the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs and the Conservative Party’s spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament. Mr. Kirkhope assessed the Syrian refugee crisis, and stated that a “firm but fair” approach to the situation was needed to maintain order and stability. Mr. Kirkhope also stressed the need for the EU to allocate additional resources to member states with external borders of the EU in order to help them accommodate the flood of new arrivals, while bolstering the availability of legal channels through which refugees can make formal applications for asylum within Europe.
On July 13, 2015, The European Institute held a breakfast discussion with The Honorable Andrej Plenkovic. Chairman of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. Plenkovic previewed the European Union’s revision of its Common Security and Defense Policy; gave his assessment of changes to the Union’s Neighborhood Policy; offered his perspective on the current situation in Ukraine and how the EU can most effectively reinforce peace initiatives and address rising economic and humanitarian needs; assessed the current situation in Southeastern Europe and managing prospects for EU enlargement, and shared his thoughts on the ongoing Greek debt crisis and the implications for both the Eurozone ad the European Union.
On May 5, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the French Ministry of Interior, convened a workshop on the evolution of terrorist financing with leading experts in the field, including The Honorable Jean-Louis Bruguière, former High Representative of the European EU to the U.S. for the Fight against Financing of Terrorism within the framework of “Terrorism Finance Tracking Program/SWIFT”; Ismael Nevares, Jr., Narcotics and Counterterrorism Director at the IRS’s Criminal Investigations unit; Jean-Baptiste Carpentier, Director of TRACFIN at the French Ministry of Finance, and Jean Denis Pesme, Manager of the Financial Market Integrity team and Coordinator of the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative at the World Bank.
On March 18, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, held a discussion on data protection and privacy with The Honorable Jan Philipp Albrecht, Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Rapporteur for the Data Protection Regulation and the Umbrella Agreement and The Honorable Cameron Kerry, Senior Counsel at Sidley Austin LLP and former General Counsel and Acting Secretary of the U..S Department of Commerce. Mr. Albrecht underlined that expectations on data privacy in the EU and U.S. are the same, but the main difference lies in their respective legal approaches. Mr. Albrecht encouraged a more active participation from the U.S. Congress on the issue of transatlantic data exchange, especially pertaining to data of suspects and “risky persons.” Mr. Kerry highlighted the need for the EU and U.S. to focus on common ground to move forward on the EU-U.S. Data Protection Umbrella Agreement and Safe Harbor provisions, as security and civil liberties are embedded in both the values of the EU and the U.S.
On February 27, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Center for Transatlantic Relations and the Hanns Seidel Foundation, hosted a discussion with The Honorable Manfred Weber, Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the European People's Party (EPP) on the current challenges facing Europe. Regarding the EU’s economic situation, Mr. Weber emphasized the importance of building growth through the completion of the single market, especially in the energy and digital fields, as well as investments in infrastructure. As for the potential Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Mr. Weber encouraged his American counterparts to take advantage of the new European momentum for a fresh start to negotiations so that a comprehensive agreement can be reached. Mr. Weber also stressed that a strong transatlantic relationship is vital to solving the Russia-Ukraine crisis, but encouraged the further deployment of sanctions, rather than weapons to Ukraine as the next step. Mr. Weber also noted that Europe needs stronger authorities and initiatives, like the EU-wide PNR system, to counter the rise of terrorist attacks in Europe.
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