EU in Focus is a series designed to enhance a student's working-knowledge of the European Union. In close partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, NYU Washington, DC’s EU in Focus lecture series considers critical issues in a professional rather than conventionally academic setting.
All students participating in this series should read The European Union: A Guide for Americans and apply to participate in the Student Leadership Retreat in Brussels with NYU La Pietra Dialogues (more information below).
Presenter: Lisa Friedman, New York Times
In December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally-binding global climate deal. The Paris Climate Accord, due to come into force in 2020, maps out a global action plan to slow the rise of dangerous greenhouse gases. The agreement is a milestone in environmental policy and diplomacy, but can global leaders translate the ambitious plan into real-world action? Now, years after the accord was initially adopted, and after the United States has officially pulled out, this seminar will explore next steps now that nearly all nations have ratified the implementation of the historic deal. Students should review the Commission’s climate action website to learn more about the EU’s latest actions in combating the effects of climate change.
Presenter: H.E. Dirk Wouters, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United States
In the weeks following the United Kingdom’s fateful EU referendum, Great Britain experienced a sharp fall in the British Pound, record-low interest rate cuts, and a change of government and cabinet reshuffle. The United Kingdom is once again entering unchartered territory as the nation prepares to negotiate its exit from the European Union. Theresa May, Britain’s Prime Minister, has promised to secure the best possible deal for the UK, but many questions regarding the timeline of the negotiations and how Brexit will affect immigration, trade, and global markets, remain unanswered. This seminar will revisit the implications of Britain’s historic vote and walk students through the next steps in this unprecedented geopolitical divorce.
Presenter: Laura Kupe, Counsel, House Homeland Security Committee
The first seminar will examine the importance of the US-EU relationship, highlighting specifically the transatlantic dialogue on security cooperation. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the subsequent revelation of Al Qaeda cells across Europe strengthened both sides’ commitment to combating terrorism, but challenges persist in fostering a closer US-EU security partnership. How has the heightened threat posed by the Islamic State influenced the transatlantic security policy agenda? This workshop will assess the Atlantic community’s most pressing security threats and explore the progress to date and ongoing challenges of US-EU counterterrorism efforts. Students should familiarize themselves with the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, before attending this lecture.
Presenter: Caroline Vicini, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States
Europe has recently experienced an unexpected turn of events with the referendum the has led to Brexit, as well as the US electing President Donald Trump, which has led to the death of the long-negotiated TTIP trade deal. Although there has been slow growth in the European economy, and austerity measures taken in the Eurozone, many still view Europe as a genuine superpower, touting (collectively) the world’s largest GDP. This session will look at the economic ties between the EU and US as a whole, as well as with others, and discuss where the EU will turn to continue to build its economic stability, if not with the United States.
The European Union represents the largest trading bloc and international donor in the world. It has the largest GDP; the third largest population; and is among the highest ranking in the world for health, education and living conditions. Europe remains the most important commercial and investment partner for the United States. The EU comprises a nuclear power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and multiple seats on the G-20. From the escalating terror in its southern and eastern neighbors to Russia’s increasingly aggressive military confrontations, Europe borders regions most strategic to U.S. foreign policy and faces some of the 21st century's most pressing security challenges. Despite these increasingly consequential and visible tensions, the “European Miracle” remains as relevant to international affairs as it was during the Cold War.
Presenter: Tim Rivera, the Programs Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.
The introductory workshop will provide an overview of the origins and governing structure of the European Union. To understand the development of the 28-member bloc, this lecture will examine the cultural, historical and strategic background of the European integration experiment, from World War II to present day. Students are strongly encouraged to read The History of the European Union and The European Union: a Guide for Americans, prior to this seminar, and develop questions that will enhance their knowledge of the formation of the Union.
Presenter: Prof. Federiga Bindi, Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations
The third workshop will explore the unique governing system of the supranational entity. By participating in this seminar, students will gain a basic understanding of the EU’s institutional framework and decision-making process. The lecture will focus on the governmental innovations introduced in the Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s roadmap for social, economic and foreign and security policy. To prepare for this workshop, students should read EU Institutions and Other Bodies, and develop questions on the EU’s government structure and policy measures.
Presenter: Helga Margarete Barth, Minister and Head of Political Affairs at the German Embassy in Washington DC.
This seminar will examine the importance of the US-EU relationship. The United States has a special relationship with the EU and several of its individual member states. Recently, the relationship has started to show signs of strain due to new tariffs, a differencing of opinion and outlook on NATO, Russia, immigration, and Brexit. This workshop will provide students an outlook of the relationship between the United States and the European Union through the context of Germany’s position as the top GDP generating country. Through this discussion, students will learn just how important these relationships are for national security and global stability, and consider how the actions being taken by the United States is changing the status quo.
Students should familiarize themselves with the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, before attending this lecture.
Presenter: Christian Brunmayr, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in Washington D.C
Violence and economic deprivation across North Africa and the Middle East, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, triggered an unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees to European Union countries. In 2015, the number of people applying for asylum in the EU peaked at 1.3 million to trigger a migration crisis. Even though the number of asylum seekers dramatically dropped to 705,000 in 2017, a 44% decrease, the current inflows remain higher than before the spike — 2017 saw 60,000 more asylum seekers than in 2014. The sharp influx forced EU leaders to develop emergency plans to reduce pressure on EU countries who faced the most migrants. These decisions have led to far-reaching political implications.
Migratory pressures have reignited deep, internal divisions between member states over how best to resettle the massive volume of new arrivals. To deal with the issue, the EU has adopted a number of resolutions, which aim to target migrant smuggling and resettling, but is that enough to address the refugee camp conditions, asylum procedures, and anti-immigrant sentiment? This workshop will examine Europe’s ongoing migratory challenges and assess the EU’s response to the crisis to date. Students should visit the Commission’s website: Towards a European Agenda on Migration to learn more about how the EU is working to mitigate the migration problem in Europe. This lecture will also present the priorities of the current Austrian presidency that places a focus on asylum and migration issues, on protecting external borders, on fighting radicalization, terrorism and organized crime, on digital security, and on protecting European values.
Financial Times article "Germany and Spain reach deal over asylum returns"
European Commission's Press Release on "Migration and Asylum: Commission takes further steps in infringement procedures against Hungary"
Article on: "Austria to propose moving asylum requests outside EU"
Human Rights Watch's article on "Children losing out on education in EU migration deal"