The European Union’s long-delayed overhaul of megabank regulation now proposes curtailing or banning the riskiest financial activities in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the 2007-2009 global financial system meltdown.
Until now, the post-crisis EU banking reforms had not acted to rein in “too big to fail” banks, focusing instead on establishing a new regulator, the European Banking Authority; stepping up capital provisions to help banks weather economic shocks; launching a mechanism to bail out problem banks; imposing limits on bankers’ compensation as an antidote to the “more pay more problems” phenomenon; and, starting a common deposit guarantee. EU-based banks must also adhere to new global standards, notably Basel III capital requirements  These include a “leverage ratio” designed to curb banks’ reliance on debt by setting a minimum standard for how much capital a bank must hold as a percentage of its assets.
On April 30, 2013, The European Institute held a seminar in cooperation with the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe to examine the challenges and opportunities for transatlantic cooperation in multilateral governance, in monetary, trade and investment policy, and in medical science research and innovation. Speakers included: The Honorable José Maria Gil-Robles, President, The Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe & former President of the European Parliament; François Rivasseau, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States; Ambassador Ioannis Vrailas, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; Ambassador Kurt Volker, Executive Director, McCain Institute for International Leadership, Arizona State University & former U.S. Ambassador to NATO; Antonio de Lecea, Principal Advisor, Delegation of the European Union to the United States; Mark Sobel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Monetary and Financial Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Michael Smart, Vice President, Rock Creek Global Advisors LLC; James Mendenhall, Counsel, International Trade & Dispute Resolution Group, Sidley Austin LLP; The Honorable Bart Gordon, Partner, K&L Gates & Former Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology; The Honorable Chaka Fattah, Member, Committee on Appropriations & Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies, U.S. House of Representatives; Dr. James Gavigan, Minister-Counselor & Head of the Science, Technology & Education Section, Delegation of the European Union; Professor Henry Markram, Founder & Director, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Brain Mind Institute & Coordinator, Human Brain Project; and Dr. Adrian Ivinson, Director, Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, Harvard University Medical School.
On November 30, 2012, The European Institute held a special discussion with The Honorable Danuta Hübner, Member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Chair of the Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development and former European Commissioner for Regional Policy. Mrs. Hübner discussed the myths of the European economic crisis and detailed what government institutions, particularly the European Parliament, are doing to resolve the crisis.
On June 6, The European Institute, in partnership with the Embassy of Portugal, welcomed The Honorable Paulo Portas, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, to a breakfast discussion on Portugal’s perspective of the political and economic climate in Europe. Speaking just days after the receiving the fourth positive evaluation of Portugal’s economic recovery program from the EU, the ECB and the IMF joint mission, Minister Portas detailed strategies for further improving his nation’s economic health and strengthening the European Union.
Europe must be grateful to Greece for dramatizing: how the Euro is fundamentally flawed; how the Euro’s failure could cause a financial-economic disaster; and how European Union (EU) leaders must, despite all their differences and electoral setbacks, cooperate to avoid a Greek tragedy.
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