On October 5, 2015, The Honorable Stefan Selig, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade offered his assessment of the current status the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Rebuffing concerns that the talks had reached an impasse, Under Secretary Selig pointed out that the most complicated agreements are always marathons, not sprints, and that negotiators are currently tackling specifics in some of the toughest chapters, notably standards and regulations. Neither the US nor the EU, he added, can achieve long term economic growth, that is both robust and sustainable, without optimizing the transatlantic trade partnership. “TTIP is not ONLY an opportunity to reinforce the Trans-Atlantic relationship. It is an opportunity to reinforce the very principles that this relationship were built upon.”
On June, 26, 2015, The European Institute held a luncheon in cooperation with Latvia's Presidency of the Council of the European Union with The Honorable Andris Piebalgs, European and Economic Affairs Advisor to the President of Latvia and Former European Commissioner for Development (2010-2014) and Energy (2004-2009). Mr. Piebalgs highlighted the Latvian Presidency's work to advance the EU's economic growth and competitiveness through such trade initiatives as TTIP, and stressed the importance of the Digital Single Market, the push for a stronger Energy Union, and the vital need for continued cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries. Mr. Piebalgs also addressed the main challenges the EU is facing, including the continued crisis in Ukraine and growing tensions with Russia on the EU's Eastern flank, increased illegal migration, and the implications of a possible Grexit and/or Brexit.
On April 13, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Secretariat, held a discussion on the implications of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for EFTA states. Georges Baur, Assistant Secretary-General of EFTA, presented opening remarks on the history and trade relations of EFTA, followed by a panel of experts, moderated by Michael Smart, Vice President of the Rock Creek Global Advisors LLC. The Honorable Gunnar Gunderson, Member of the Norwegian Parliament (Strotinget), discussed the economic opportunity that TTIP has for EFTA and underlined the importance for EFTA to acquire an equal preferential treatment from both the U.S. and EU. The Honorable Thomas Aeschi, Member of the Swiss House of Representatives (Nationalrat), highlighted EFTA’s openness to trade, exemplified by its current 25 FTAs with 35 countries, and encouraged a docking mechanism into TTIP for EFTA, Mexico, and Canada. Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, Founder of Summit Strategies International and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development program, outlined the premise of TTIP and the opportunity for the initiative to have an open architecture accessible to third countries. Lastly, Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, discussed the obstacles of having TTIP as an open architecture for trade, underlining that most accession clauses in FTAs have never been acted upon.
On March 10, 2015, The European Institute held a meeting of the Roundtable on Triangular Relations on Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and future prospects for the EEU. His Excellency Tigran Sargsyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States and former Prime Minister of Armenia presented opening remarks. Vardan Aramyan, First Deputy Chief of Staff to Armenian President Sargsyan discussed the economic factors behind Armenia’s decision to join the EEU and Tatiana Valovaya, Minister for Integration Development & Macroeconomics at the Eurasian Economic Commission assessed the continuing evolution of the EEU, including Armenia’s accession. Klaus Botzet, Head of the Political, Development & Security Section at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States presented remarks on the European Neighborhood Policy and the future of EU-Armenian relations. In the final session, His Excellency Kadyr Toktogulov, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States; Pavel Shidlovsky, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Belarus; Yerkin Akhinzhanov, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and Mikhail Kalugin, Head of the Economic Office at the Embassy of the Russian Federation, discussed the prospects and challenges facing the EEU, including the Kyrgyz Republic’s accession later this year.
On February 27, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Center for Transatlantic Relations and the Hanns Seidel Foundation, hosted a discussion with The Honorable Manfred Weber, Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the European People's Party (EPP) on the current challenges facing Europe. Regarding the EU’s economic situation, Mr. Weber emphasized the importance of building growth through the completion of the single market, especially in the energy and digital fields, as well as investments in infrastructure. As for the potential Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Mr. Weber encouraged his American counterparts to take advantage of the new European momentum for a fresh start to negotiations so that a comprehensive agreement can be reached. Mr. Weber also stressed that a strong transatlantic relationship is vital to solving the Russia-Ukraine crisis, but encouraged the further deployment of sanctions, rather than weapons to Ukraine as the next step. Mr. Weber also noted that Europe needs stronger authorities and initiatives, like the EU-wide PNR system, to counter the rise of terrorist attacks in Europe.
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