Roundtables

France and the Transatlantic Relationship: A New Chapter?

H.E. Pierre Vimont, newly appointed Ambassador of France to the United States, discussed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s goals for the EU, as France assumes the presidency of the European Council in the latter part of 2008. The European Union should focus on four points: economic growth; internal security and the growing concerns about immigration; environmental protection and climate change; external relations and the EU’s role in the international community. Ambassador Vimont stressed that the EU needs to “put its house in order” and decide on the new constitution, a common defense policy, and enlargement. France has proposed the creation of a committee of “wisemen” to address these difficult issues.

 

Consumer Protection and the Transatlantic Relationship

The Honorable Meglena Kuneva, European Commissioner for Consumer Protection presented the Commission’s recently completed Review of Consumer Protection Law, which seeks to strengthen, modernize and harmonize consumer protection regulations within the member states of European Union. She emphasized the importance of enforcement of consumer laws and the need for stronger discipline within the EU member-states regarding consumer policy. She was optimistic regarding the EU-U.S. consumer relationship, as both share the same goals and priorities. The high level of transparency between the U.S. and EU is good for the international economy. Lydia Parnes, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission concurred and noted that the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) is a good forum for the U.S. and EU to share information and to further collaboration efforts. The discussion was moderated by Raymond Calamaro, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, in whose offices the meeting was held.

 

Transatlantic Cooperation on Missile Defense

As nation-states (in particular North Korea and Iran) have continued to work on the proliferation of missiles over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in interest on missile defense by the rest of the world. Lt. Gen. Henry A. “Trey” Obering III, Director of the Missile Defense Agency with the U.S. Department of Defense, discussed the status of the U.S. plan for missile defense in view of the increased threats to national security. He addressed the U.S. proposal to place new missile interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic, which is the subject of great debate and has critical strategic implications for both Europe and the United States. Gen. Obering acknowledged European and Russian concerns and stressed transparency and collaboration among the U.S., E.U., NATO, and Russia.

 

Prospects for the European economy, the financial market turmoil and the role of the European Central Bank

The Honorable Lucas Papademos, Vice-President of the European Central Bank addressed the role of the Central Bank in dealing with the current turmoil in global financial markets, as well as the prospects for the European economy. This dinner discussion was hosted in New York City in cooperation with BlackRock, Inc.

 

Transatlantic Cooperation on EU-U.S. Aviation Issues

The Hon. Paolo Costa (MEP-Italy), Chairman of the Transport Committee and members of the Committee discussed the status of the EU-U.S. Aviation Agreement (also known as the Open Skies Agreement), the inclusion of aviation into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and aviation security issues. U.S. participants included Michael Scardaville, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Policy and International Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Paul Gretch, Director of the Office of International Aviation, U.S. Department of Transportation.

 
  • 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