Held in cooperation with the German Embassy and the Representative of German Industry and Trade on March 30, 2011, this event showcased the development of the electric car industry on both sides of the Atlantic, and highlighted the necessary R&D, infrastructure and energy supply challenges. Speakers included Ralph Fücks, President, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Germany; Edwin Owens, U.S. Department of Energy; Brian Rampp, BMW; Brian Wynne, Electric Drive Transportation Association; Dr. Matthias Haun, Bosch; Lee Godown, GM; Claus Fest, RWE; Michael Kagan, Constellation Energy; and Daniel Ciarcia, General Electric; and Luis Giron, Siemens.

The European Institute held a luncheon on Friday, February 18, 2011, with Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, to discuss Europe’s new Innovation Union strategy.  Found lagging on key innovation indicators, “Europe has come to realize that research and innovation are the key for advanced economies both to remain competitive and to secure social and economic progress” Mr. Smits said. Under the Innovation Union Strategy, Europe is taking important steps to remove barriers and implement a coherent framework to spur innovation. Among the EU’s priorities: the removal of barriers for venture capital funds by 2011; a valorization of international property rights so as to create a sort of “EU-wide eBay for patents and knowledge”; a review of public procurement policies to boost innovation;  and an increase in Research and Development funding. Ultimately, Mr. Smits concluded, Europe will be a “tough competitor” for innovation-based economic growth.

On September 30, 2010, The European Institute held its Annual Meeting of the Members and Board of Advisors at the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Discussions focused on U.S. and European efforts to enact comprehensive financial regulatory measures, strengthen economic governance and spur sustainable economic growth. Moderated by Timothy Keeler, Counsel at Mayer Brown LLP, the expert panel included Mark Sobel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Antonio de Lecea, Minister - Principal Advisor for Economic and Financial Affairs at the Delegation of the European Union; Matthias Sonn, Minister of Economics and Science at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Jeffrey Skeer, International Relations Specialist in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The panel was followed by a dinner and a lively discussion with David Mark, Senior Editor at Politico and Politico.com, about the U.S. Mid-Term Elections and their Potential Implications.

The European Institute held a meeting with The Honorable Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and The Honorable Bart Gordon, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss the pivotal roles that research and innovation play in spurring sustainable economic growth and job creation. The first Commissioner responsible for Innovation, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn emphatically stressed the importance of greater transatlantic cooperation, saying that the case for collaboration in research and innovation has never been greater. A new European Research and Innovation Strategy will be  formulated by this fall, and will seek to encourage both private investment and public-private initiatives to meet the 3% of GDP target for R&D. Chairman Gordon, author of the America COMPETES Act, which must be re-authorized this year, echoed the importance of increased investment in research and development in the U.S. within the next ten years, as well as the need for greater international cooperation. Both Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and Chairman Gordon agreed that increased transatlantic cooperation is not only important to the development of their respective research and innovation agendas, but central to the transatlantic partnership’s ability to shape the future of global R&D.  The discussion was moderated by Dr. Michael Nelson, Visiting Professor of Internet Studies at Georgetown University.

Obama Administration Releases FCC’s “National Broadband Plan"

A plan to drastically reshape America’s broadband policy was released amid great anticipation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in March 2010. The National Broadband Plan (known as the NBP or just “the Plan”)[1], it is a sweeping set of proposals produced in response to the Congress’s direction (in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA to develop a plan with the primary objective of providing ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband service throughout America.  The ARRA also required that the Plan set forth a detailed strategy for utilizing broadband to advance a set of broad policy goals, including “consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes.”[2]

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