By J. Paul Horne


President Obama’s dramatic victory on healthcare reform may have had a collateral impact in kick-starting financial regulatory reform. The conventional wisdom in Washington has been that the high political expenditure on the health bill precluded any other major legislative initiative until after the mid-term elections in November. But the passage of the health bill may have triggered a new political dynamic. Over the weekend, as the bill was passing, Republican Senators, apparently worried by their weakened overall position, withdrew hundreds of amendments to a proposed bill reforming financial regulation. The text, drafted by Senator Chris Dodd, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, was voted out of the committee and onto the Senate floor for debate this week.

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On March 17, 2010, The European Institute held a special breakfast meeting of its Transatlantic Roundtable on Transportation regarding transatlantic cooperation on transportation security. A delegation from the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, including Chairman The Honorable Brian Simpson (S & D Party, UK), The Honorable Mathieu Grosch (European People’s Party, Belgium), The Honorable Saïd El Khadraoui (S & D Party, Belgium), and The Honorable Gesine Meissner (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Germany) spoke about their visit to Washington and current civil aviation security issues in the European Union. Michael Scardaville, Director for European and Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provided a U.S. perspective on these pressing security matters. The main topics of discussion were the second U.S.-EU civil aviation agreement (Open Skies II), the U.S.-EU passenger name records agreement, privacy and human rights issues with the implementation of full body scanner in airports, the overall approach to civil aviation security, the increasing importance of high speed rail in the U.S., and the importance of the U.S. and EU to coordinate policies and procedures to ensure security on both sides of the Atlantic. A high emphasis was placed on increasing dialogue between the U.S. and EU on unresolved issues of contention. Passenger privacy and the protection of data are especially big concerns for Europe, and the U.S. and EU will continue to work together to try to find a holistic approach to providing security.

Americans Should Think Twice about European Socio-Economic Models

A leading and sometimes controversial U.S. economist Paul Krugman says that Americans should look beyond their knee-jerk dismissal of European countries’ economic systems and recognize some ways in which the Europeans’ formulas have succeeded in sustaining long-run prosperity – arguably better than the results in the U.S.

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On the occasion of the annual Ambassadors’ Dinner, The European Institute launched a new initiative on Russia-EU-U.S. Triangular Relations. The fluidity and complexity of common strategic, economic, energy and environmental challenges can best be met through effective triangular cooperation. His Excellency Sergey Kislyak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, Ambassador of Spain to the United States and Ambassador Richard Morningstar, the U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy offered their assessments of the prospects for stronger triangular cooperation.

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By Jean-Claude Casanova

(This article appeared in Le Monde newspaper in its edition dated Nov. 16, 2009.)

At the end of President George W. Bush’s second term in office, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the distinguished analyst, put forward the idea that two conditions had to be met in order to advance transatlantic relations: America had to go through “regime change,” and another “regime” had to emerge in Europe. He meant that the United States had to have a presidency with a less unilateral vision of the world, and that Europe had to achieve a higher degree of political unity. Now Barack Obama has been elected and the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified. Have these conditions been met?

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