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Upping the Ante—QE2 on its Way from ECB (10/22)

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By Alexander Privitera Executive Director, European Institute

The latest gathering of the Governing Council (GC) of the European Central Bank (ECB) provided ample ammunition to all those who expect the central bank to expand or extend its program of asset purchases, also known as QE. In his public remarks following the GC meeting President Mario Draghi indicated that a decision could come as early as December. The ECB is shifting from a wait and see approach to a, in Draghi’s own words, “work and assess” mode, as the slowdown of emerging economies is starting to have a negative impact on the euro zone’s exports and risks to the euro zone’s economy are clearly tilted to the downside.

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Europe’s Top Court Suspends Trans-Atlantic ‘Safe Harbor’ Data-Transfer Pact (10/6)

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From Google to Apple, U.S. Companies Face Countless Challenges from Europeans Asserting Privacy Violations

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

Europe’s highest court suspended immediately (October 5, 2015) a “Safe Harbor” agreement between the United States and the European Union that had allowed U.S. businesses to transfer personal data of European citizens to the United States.

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EU Unveils Ambitious Plan to Unite Capital Markets by 2019 as Antidote to Europe’s Sluggish Economy (10/1)

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Single Market Would Promote NonBank Financing, Remove Investment Obstacles, Encourage Financial Innovations

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

The European Union set out an ambitious plan to remove barriers to cross-border investment, a move that could make it easier for a business in one country to obtain capital in any member-state. The resulting expansion of financing options could lower funding costs and provide more diversity in the financial products and services available in Europe to meet a company’s complex financing needs.[i]

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Catalonia’s Resurgent Independence Movement (9/24)

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By Owen Phelps, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

While Catalonia’s zeal for independence from Spain was temporarily sated last year after an unofficial referendum was called on the Catalan National Day in 2014, the ante has been raised higher recently, as independence leader Artur Mas has declared that the results of the Catalonian Parliamentary election this month (September 27) will serve as a vote on whether or not Catalonia will become its own state.

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Political Gamble Results in Victory – Again – for Tsipras to Retain Power in Greece. Difficult Steps Ahead to Slash Spending, Hike Taxes, and Overhaul Policies Tied to EU Bailout (9/21)

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spellmanBy James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

In a surprising and conclusive victory, the prime minister who had sharply reversed his ruling party’s approach by negotiating an eleventh hour bailout deal with Brussels last month, forcing Sunday’s election, won nearly half of Parliament’s seats.

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Spain’s King Felipe VI Comes to Washington (9/16)

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michaelmosettigBy Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor of PBS’s The News Hour

The Wilson Center think tank in Washington often plays host to international heads of state and government. Less frequently does a center named for a U.S. president who entered a European war to "make the world safe for democracy" hear from a European monarch whose nation has struggled with that concept for nearly 100 years. But for Spain's King Felipe VI the visit and keynote speech at a security forum seemed smooth and effortless, a glimpse for Americans in the audience to see why his popularity ratings are at 81 percent 15 months after he took the throne following the abdication of his father amid some scandal.

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New Storm Clouds for Europe: China’s Weakening Outlook (8/31)

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By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

Signs mount that China’s outlook is deteriorating, as a credit-driven bubble of irrational real estate prices bursts and decades of infrastructure investments to sustain double-digit growth have resulted in detrimental side effects, ushering in a likely recession. As the dominant market for many EU-made products, from luxury goods to machinery to transport equipment, China’s slowdown will have far-reaching consequences as Europe’s recovery remains fragile.

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EU Clears Third Bailout to Help Greece Pay Debt and Promote Development; Toxic Debate before Greece’s Parliament Approved Reforms Brussels Demanded (8/17)

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spellmanBy James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

The European Union Friday (August 14) cleared a third bailout, a three-year program that provides Greece with €85 billion ($94.3 billion) to pay debt, recapitalizes banks initially with €10 billion ($11.1 billion) and launches a €35-billion ($38.8 billion) economic development package provided that a quarterly review affirms that Athens is achieving increasingly larger budget surpluses over the next three years.

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Uber's Battles (7/30)

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By Jamie Connolly, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

Innovative companies such as Uber are beginning to revolutionize urban transport through today’s latest technologies. Their success reflects a drive towards an ever-increasing “gig-based economy” and its ability to challenge established economic models through their use of disruptive technology.

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EU Anti-trust Regulator Challenges Hollywood's Pay-TV Deals (7/23)

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By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

spellmanIn another move to break down barriers to a single digital market, the European Union’s anti-trust crusader accused six of Hollywood’s largest movie studios and the British satellite broadcaster Sky of signing country-specific deals with pay-TV providers that obstruct competition to the disadvantage of consumers.

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British, English, European: What am I? (7/22)

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By Jamie Connolly, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

The easiest way to answer this question is to think of my response to people who ask “where are you from?” – a common and plausible question asked on a regular basis to any foreigner living in Washington DC. My first go to answer would be English. I was born in England – directly in the center of the country and mark each and every application form as such – nationality: English.

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TTIP edges forward, buoyed by votes in U.S. Congress and EU Parliament (7/17)

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By Brian Beary, European Affairs

 

Wrapping up the tenth round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks in Brussels on July 17, the lead EU and US negotiators confirmed that their goal was to conclude a deal under the Obama administration i.e. by January 2017. “The negotiators of TTIP on both sides have clear guidance on how to get things done,” said Dan Mullaney, the Assistant US Trade Representative, in a nod to how two big stumbling blocks to its passage have recently been cleared.

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Greece’s Parliament Approves Austerity Measures, Casting a Glint of Light at the Tunnel’s End (7/16)

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spellmanAs anti-austerity protesters and riot police clashed outside Greece’s neoclassical parliament, legislators surprisingly voted overwhelmingly, 229-64, for the first round of reforms and government spending cuts the country’s leader had accepted in exhaustion before dawn Monday to secure a desperately needed bailout from the Eurozone, thereby averting bankruptcy and “Grexit.”

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Greek Debt Deal Reached but Opens Pandora’s Box (7/14)

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By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

spellmanGreece and the European Union early Monday (July 13) reached agreement on measures that aim to keep Greece within the Eurozone through financial assistance, debt relief, and rigorous oversight but require the country to implement quickly reforms that its ruling government and the electorate resoundingly rejected as too onerous only a week ago.

Securing acceptance by the Greek parliament by July 15 (Wednesday) and quickly reopening Greece’s banks with a cash infusion from the European Central Bank are among the many uncertainties the acrimonious, 31-hour-long talks left unresolved as a €3.5 billion loan repayment to the ECB comes due July 20. (By the afternoon on July 13, the European Central Bank signaled that it would leave its credit line to Greece’s banks in place at its current level.)

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Perspectives: Greece: The final curtain? (7/6)

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mzeiner01By Markus Ziener, Berlin

By many, the outcome of the Greek referendum is considered to be a defeat for Europe. But is that really true? Just imagine if the Greeks had voted “Yes”: This would have signaled the start of another endless round of negotiations with a government and a country that is at odds which each other. At least this is safe to say: Alexis Tsipras and the people of Greece are on the same page when it comes to the reforms advocated by the EU-Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund: They don't like them and they don't want them. And given the bank run of last week they are certainly aware what that could eventually mean: Bidding farewell to the Euro.

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Prospects for a Grexit Get Real (6/29)

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By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

Default on an already re-scheduled debt payment to the IMF seemed inevitable Tuesday as a near-bankrupt Greece stepped closer to exiting the eurozone, following the tumult of bewildering events over the weekend that included scheduling a July 5th referendum on the latest bailout proposal, imposing capital controls and closing banks to staunch the hemorrhage of cash withdrawals that capped emergency funding from the ECB could not stem. Markets worldwide plummeted in response to the dire outlook.

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Dutch Court Orders Government to Meet Climate Targets (6/25)

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By Brian Beary, Washington Correspondent for Europolitics

Climate change activists are celebrating this week's landmark ruling by a court in the Netherlands requiring the Dutch government to make better progress in meeting its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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European Union Likely to Extend Sanctions against Russia (6/19)

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By Jamie Connolly, Editorial Assistant

Nervousness about whether the 28 EU member states would stand united in renewing sanctions against Russia abated when EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed in principle to extend the existing sanctions---subject to formal approval by European Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on June 22nd.

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Letter from Berlin, City of “Volatility” (6/15)

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michaelmosettigBy Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor PBS News Hour, writing from Berlin

Berlin  --  The bikes and their riders are among the first things to catch the attention of a Berlin visitor. The handlebars and seats are higher than on most American bikes ,and the riders take on a stately posture and gait, more like Lady Mary in Downton Abbey riding sidesaddle on her horse than Washington and New York cyclists who often look and act as if they are competing in the Tour de France. Of course, one other thing becomes apparent. In ten days, I never saw a biker run a red light.

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Austrians Celebrate 200th Anniversary of the Congress of Vienna (6/9)

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By Michael D. Mosettig, former foreign editor of PBS News Hour, writing from Vienna

VIENNA -- Austria's capital finally has an anniversary worthy of celebration after a year of mordant commemorations of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I that reduced this city from the center of an empire to a struggling backwater and more recently of the end of World War II when the country was a mostly willing appendage of Nazi Germany.

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