On March 26, 2015, The European Institute held a luncheon discussion with His Excellency David O’Sullivan, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States. Ambassador O’Sullivan highlighted key initiatives within the European Union to spur sustainable economic growth such as the EU Investment Plan, the Energy Union, and the Digital Single Market, but he also acknowledged that Europe has its challenges, including countering Euroscepticism, negative attitudes toward migration, and such core foreign policy issues as the Ukraine crisis and growing instability in the Middle East. Ambassador O’Sullivan emphasized the need for the U.S. and the EU to take advantage of opportunities for greater transatlantic unity, such as cooperation on climate change policies in the walk-up to the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, moving forward in addressing data protection and privacy concerns, as well as advancing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) initiative.

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 March 17, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, held a meeting on the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. In attendance was a delegation of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee. The Honorable Giovanni La Via, Chairman of the ENVI Committee opened the roundtable and underlined the importance of EU-U.S. cooperation to materialize an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris. Reid Detchon, Vice President of Energy and Climate Strategy at the United Nations Foundation then highlighted the positive momentum toward Paris, with events like the climate change marches in New York and the U.S.-China climate agreement representing a global shift on attitudes toward climate change. Lastly, Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, highlighted the positive undertakings that the U.S. has made and the opportunity for further reform with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

On March 10, 2015, The European Institute held a meeting of the Roundtable on Triangular Relations on Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and future prospects for the EEU. His Excellency Tigran Sargsyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States and former Prime Minister of Armenia presented opening remarks.  Vardan Aramyan, First Deputy Chief of Staff to Armenian President Sargsyan discussed the economic factors behind Armenia’s decision to join the EEU and Tatiana Valovaya, Minister for Integration Development & Macroeconomics at the Eurasian Economic Commission assessed the continuing evolution of the EEU, including Armenia’s accession. Klaus Botzet, Head of the Political, Development & Security Section at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States presented remarks on the European Neighborhood Policy and the future of EU-Armenian relations. In the final session, His Excellency Kadyr Toktogulov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States; Pavel Shidlovsky, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Belarus; Yerkin Akhinzhanov, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and Mikhail Kalugin, Head of the Economic Office at the Embassy of the Russian Federation, discussed the prospects and challenges facing the EEU, including the Kyrgyz Republic’s accession later this year.


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.

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.