On April 17th, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Latvia and the Embassy of the Russian Federation, held a breakfast discussion on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and its potential transformation into a key economic and commercial transcontinental corridor.  Panel speakers, including Aivis Ronis, Latvian Minister of Transportation; Oleg Stepanov, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Russian Federation; Antonio de Lecea, Principal Adviser at the Delegation of the European Union; The Honorable Robert Hormats, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment; and Susan Kurland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Transportation, offered their perspectives on current efforts to shift the NDN from a military logistics system into a viable commercial link between Afghanistan and the international community.  Beyond economic benefits, the panel speakers indicated that the harmonization of regional attitudes, as well as transnational movement of ideas, promise to be products of this ongoing process to establish a “modern Silk Road.”

By Garret Martin, Editor at Large, European Affairs

As talks resume between Iran and the P5 + 1 (the informal group made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the stakes, including war or peace, are high for every one – and not least for EU. European countries have invested much political capital in engaging Iran over the last twenty years, sometimes parting ways with Washington over the issue. In recent years, especially since the last round of talks with Iran broke off 15 months ago, the EU leaders have closed ranks with the U.S., especially the so-called E-3 countries directly involved in the talks – Britain, France and now Germany. Now, with the stark backdrop of the continent’s own economic woes, the EU badly needs a foreign-policy success to keep alive its diplomatic credibility and ambitions to be an influential global actor.

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On April 10th, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Russian Federation, welcomed The Honorable Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss methods and strategies for breaking the Iranian nuclear impasse.  Emphasizing the need for reciprocal action to form the basis of any agreement, the Deputy Minister explained that rebuilding trust between the P5+1 and Iran is crucial to any prospects for successful negotiations.  He also stressed Russia’s intent to recognize Iran as a full member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty only when it submits to IAEA inspectors and proves its intention to pursue entirely peaceful nuclear technology.  Pointing to the resumption of talks in Istanbul planned for April 14th, Deputy Minister Ryabkov stated that the P5+1’s varied approaches could be beneficial, presenting Tehran with “a menu of ideas” which may inform negotiations.  The discussion included an opening statement by Dr. Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism, and was moderated by Michael Adler, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Middle East Program.

In preparation for the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago this spring, The European Institute convened a distinguished panel on Decembereinatomtg1220113 15, 2011 to discuss the evolution of the U.S. – E.U.-NATO relationship. Antonella Cerasino, head of the NATO Countries Section in the Public Diplomacy Division at NATO; Ambassador Robert Hunter, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Security Studies at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University; Ambassador Kurt Volker, Managing Director and Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Brigadier General Bruno Caitucoli, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of France; and Rory Dunn, Political Counselor at the Delegation of the European Union in Washington participated. einatomtg1220112The discussion was moderated by Leo Michel, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. The gist of issues explored by the EI forum’s far-ranging discussion is available here in a report by John Barry, written in compliance with Chatham House rules.

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On October 4, 2011, The European Institute held a seminar in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy, European Commission and Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s EU-Japan-U.S. Trilateral Critical Materials Initiative.  The Honorable David Sandalow, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs, The Honorable Reinhard Bütikofer, Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, European Parliament; and His Excellency Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States presented keynote remarks.  Panelists included: Gwenole Cozigou, Director for chemicals, metals, mechanical, electrical, construction industries and raw materials, DG Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission; Herbert von Bose, Director for Industrial Technologies, DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission; Cyrus Wadia, Senior Policy Analyst, Environment and Energy Division at the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy; Charles Cogar, Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Mike Coffman; Komei Halada, Managing Director for the Center for Strategic Natural Resources at the Japanese National Institute for Materials Science; Keiichi Kawakami, Deputy Director General, Manufacturing Industries Bureau at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Stephen Collocott, Group Leader, Novel Alloys, Magnetics and Drives at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization; Anil Arora, Assistant Deputy Minister, Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada; Alain Rollat, Technology Development Manager for Rhodia Rare Earth Systems; Maurits Van Camp, Coach, Recycling and Extraction Technology Platform, Umicore; and Jim Sims, Vice President for Corporate Communications at Molycorp.  The discussion was moderated by The Honorable Bart Gordon, Partner at K&L Gates LLP.

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