On March 8, 2011, The European Institute held a meeting of its Transatlantic Roundtable on Telecommunications and Information Technology with Pierre Louette, Executive Vice President and Group General Secretary and Eric Debroeck, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs from France Telecom – Orange. Mr. Louette and Mr. Debroeck offered their perspectives on the telecommunications regulatory environment in the transatlantic community and assessed the current debate over net neutrality and broadband deployment, both in the United States and in Europe.

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.

In the space of half a generation, the Internet has become one of the most important mechanisms on the planet. Every human being, whether aware of it or not, depends upon it for material well being and for broader, non-economic benefits in social, cultural, political, and other realms.The Internet’s unprecedented growth is not the only unusual thing about it.

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On December 10, 2010, Arkady Dvorkovich, Chief Economic Advisor to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, delivered keynote remarks via teleconference to a special meeting of The European Institute’s Roundtable of EU-U.S.-Russia Triangular Relations.  Focused on the common challenge of maintaining the innovation paradigm in a difficult economic climate, the meeting included opening remarks by His Excellency Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Belgium to the United States and a panel discussion with Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Co-Chair of the Russia Caucus; Ambassador Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, Diplomatic Advisor to the Belgian Minister of Defense and Former Ambassador of Belgium to the Russian Federation; and Antonio de Lecea, Minister- Principle Advisor for the Delegation of the European Union. The discussion was moderated by The Honorable Clay Lowery, Vice President of International Government Affairs at Cisco Systems, Inc.

(Dec. 8)   Key regulators of broadband internet service on both sides of the Atlantic seem set to adopt rules that will allow the “carriers” (such as phone companies) to “amend” notions about the prevailing doctrine of “net neutrality.”  The touchstone of “net neutrality” is the impermissibility of discriminating among users and providers. But increasingly, particularly in wireless broadband, some discrimination is starting to be countenanced to ensure that large carriers, who provide the “pipes” for the internet, continue investment in the infrastructure to permit wide access to high-speed Internet. 

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