This series serves as a vital source of information for both European and American policymakers, who utilize this platform to introduce and explain policies that have direct bearing on the U.S. and EU governments, the U.S. Congress, the European Parliament, EU member states, business executives and other relevant parties. At this time of uncommon challenges and change, The Institute promotes greater understanding between key public and private sector leaders on issues of common concern and helps develop effective and mutually beneficial solutions. At its best, the Forum serves to diffuse contentious rhetoric on sensitive policy issues and advance the transatlantic dialogue in a constructive direction.

Recent Meetings

In a wide-ranging speech at The European Institute on the increasingly pivotal role of Europe’s Northern Dimension, the President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, said his country has survived the economic crisis and is poised for healthy growth and entry into the Eurozone in 2014.

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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.

The European Institute held a breakfast meeting on Friday, February 11th, with The Honorable Bálint Ódor, Hungary’s Deputy State Secretary for European Union Affairs, to discuss the priorities of the Hungarian Presidency of the European Council.  The European Union’s efforts to reach agreement on permanent security mechanisms to protect the euro and to begin implementation of important economic governance reforms were a central priority, Mr. Ódor said. He also emphasized the importance of pushing the goals of the ambitious Europe 2020 strategy, with a focus on creating jobs and strengthening European competitiveness. Serious work towards a common European energy policy was underway, and the Hungarian Presidency was also looking to further agreement on the future of common agricultural and cohesion policies.  Mr. Ódor also outlined Hungary’s push for the establishment of a Europe-wide strategy to guarantee a better life for the Roma, as well as the need to sustain the enlargement process, particularly with regards to Croatia and Turkey.

On all fronts, Mr. Ódor stressed that Hungary’s role during the six months rotation of the European Council presidency is to act as a “broker” to insure that compromises are achieved. He readily acknowledged the importance of bringing the European Union closer to its citizens, and previewed the burgeoning debate on the European Union’s multiannual financial framework (2013-2019) by advocating a bottoms-up approach. “We should see what the EU member states and citizens need from the EU,” he said.

His Excellency João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, was the guest of honor at The European Institute’s Annual Ambassadors’ Gala Dinner on December 9, 2010. Emphasizing the unparalleled maturity and shared purpose of the European American relationship, Ambassador Vale de Almeida stressed the need for constant commitment to a partnership whose common mission is all the more vital in the face of globalization’s challenges. Europe and the United States can maximize their influence on the emergent multi-polar global stage by setting aside differences, concentrating on commonalities, and adopting a positive agenda. The Ambassador applauded what he termed a “new attitude” in the transatlantic relationship and said he was motivated by the development of both new and renewed tools of cooperation on such vital fronts as the economy, trade, energy and cyber security. In 2011, the shared priority for both the European Union and the United States will be to achieve the needed growth for economic recovery and job creation, while also restoring public confidence in governance.

On December 7, 2010, The Honorable Maroš Šefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration offered his assessment of the transformative changes in the European Union’s governance since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force and outlined the key challenges that lie ahead in the EU’s quest for an "ever-closer union."