Roundtables

Transatlantic Perspectives on Global Human Rights Governance

This meeting assessed the reasoning behind U.S. and EU positions on the merits and effectiveness of global human rights frameworks and identified opportunities for transatlantic cooperation in the promotion of human rights.  Speakers included: Ambassador Thomas Greminger, Head of Political Affairs Division IV, Human Security of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Robert Harris, Assistant Legal Advisor for Human Rights and Refugees at the U.S. Department of State; Claudia Pinto, Senior Political Advisor at the Delegation of the European Commission; and Dr. Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy and Director of the International Law and Organizations Program at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.  The session was moderated by Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of the American Society of International Law.
 

The Challenge of Energy Security in Europe’s Northern Dimension

This meeting focused on Europe’s increasingly troubled energy relationship with Russia, with particular emphasis on Northern Europe. Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian gas crisis and renewed pledges on the Nord Stream gas pipeline project, participants assessed Russia's influence in European energy markets and the critical interplay between Russia's economic downturn and energy export policies, as well as the attendant implications for the transatlantic relationship. Participants included Pekka Sutela, Head of the Bank of Finland's Institute for Economies in Transition; Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; Jaroslav Kurfürst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Czech Republic; Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Energy Cooperation, U.S. Department of Energy; Tomas Gulbinas, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania and J. Robinson West, Chairman, Founder and CEO, PFC Energy. Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former U.S. Special Envoy for European Union Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy presented keynote luncheon remarks.
 

Memberships Revisited: Integration into NATO’s New Strategic Framework

The seminar focused on how France, Sweden, Finland and Austria envisage their future cooperation with NATO in the new strategic framework. Although not members, these countries have made significant contributions to NATO operations and have developed partnerships with the alliance; however, except for France, they do not plan to join NATO in the near future. Col. Jean-Baptiste Minjoulat-Rey, Military Attaché, Embassy of France outlined France’s position, saying that France plans to contribute both to EU defense and to NATO. Brig. Gen. Peter Resch, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Austria foresees NATO promoting common standards and procedures not only to NATO members but also to states prepared to deal with NATO. Capt. Jaakko Savisaari, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Finland, emphasized that Finland’s policy for the future will be to maintain an independent credible national defense; and to be as close to NATO as possible without being a member. Antonella Cerasino, Head of the Countries Section, noted that as NATO’s faces new challenges, partnerships will be central in the new strategic concept. There will be revisions on how NATO and its partners can work more closely together, how to involve in the decision-making process non-member countries that contribute to operations and need to have a say. The meeting concluded with presentations by H.E. Jonas Hafström, Ambassador of Sweden and Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Amb. Hafström outlined Swedish foreign and security policy, its relations with NATO, and its role in the EU. Amb. Volker discussed NATO’s current concerns and the top five tasks it must tackle over the next couple of years. These are: Rebuild a sense that the US and Europe form a single community, getting Afghanistan on track, agreeing about the issues of Russia and Eastern Europe, finishing the job in the Balkans, and getting NATO to focus on the challenges of the future. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

 

 

Opportunities and Challenges in Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration

Jürgen Thumann, European Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue reviewed the achievements of the TEC, and offered an outlook on the future of transatlantic economic cooperation, in light of the current upheaval in the global financial sector and the emerging priorities of the incoming U.S. Administration. As one of three members of the TEC’s Group of Advisers, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue plays a central role in communicating the private sector’s priorities for achieving transatlantic economic integration. On the occasion of this summer’s US-EU Summit, the TABD stressed four areas of particular importance: investment protectionism; fostering innovation with strong protection of intellectual property; facilitating the freest possible movement of people and goods within transatlantic borders, and enhancing cooperation on energy supply and climate change.

This meeting was supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

 

Civilian Security Applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

As unmanned aircraft systems multiply with astonishing rapidity and their contribution to earth surveillance and the treatment of emergency situations increases in parallel to the commercial, homeland security and military applications, there is a pressing need to ensure the security and environmental safety of this increased traffic. This seminar brought together representatives of the U.S. Administration and Congress, European officials, senior corporate executives, representatives from multilateral organizations, and experts to evaluate progress and identify current needs. Speakers included Peter van Blyenburgh, President of UVS International; Kenneth “Doug” Davis, UAS Program Office Manager for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration; Sara Summers, UAS Deputy Project Manager for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Douglas Koupash, Executive Director of Mission Support, Office of CBP Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Rear Admiral Wayne Justice, USCG, Assistant Commandant for Capability for the U.S. Coast Guard. Major General Michael Kostelnik, USAF (Ret), Assistant Commissioner for CBP Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection presented keynote remarks.

 
  • Organized Labor in U.S. and Germany—Will it Survive?

    By Michael Mosettig

    To the union leaders who occupy offices inside, the big white building just north of Lafayette Square in Washington is known as The House of Labor. Encased on marble, with a view of the White House, it exudes the power that once belonged to leaders of American labor unions to help pick and elect Democratic Party presidents and push their agendas through Congress.

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UMD Jean Monnet Research Project

Infrastructure Planning and Financing: Lessons from Europe and the United States

The University of Maryland has received a Jean Monnet grant from the EU to conduct a series of policy exchanges between Europe and the US on filling infrastructure needs and the utility of public/private partnerships as the financing mechanism. If interested in participating in or receiving more information about these exchanges, please contact Rye McKenzie (rmckenzi@umd.edu).

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New from the Bertelsmann Foundation

The Bertelsmann Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC with a transatlantic perspective on global challenges.

"Edge of a Precipice" by Nathan Crist

"Newpolitik" by Emily Hruban

 

Summer Course