Panels 2014 « European Conference 2016 at Harvard Kennedy School





Panels 2014


The Online Economy: Virtual or Effective Tool Out of the Crisis?

European online companies are leaders in many sub-sectors of the online economy, competing with US counterparts on innovation, and often coming up with genuine business model alternatives (music streaming industry, digital natives agencies, social gaming, e-commerce niche players).

Still, Europe lacks any large-cap player, and has been unable so far to provide an alternative to GAFA.

Our panel will discuss current initiatives in Europe, and the respective roles of investors, entrepreneurs, and the public sector to accelerate the contribution of the online economy to the implementation of change within traditional corporations, employment, and growth.

Cyber Security in Europe

Addressing the challenge presented by cybersecurity has been brought to the top of many nation’s agendas, and European countries have been at the forefront in employing innovative solutions. Examples include legislation such as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and the creation of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence. Despite the advances that have been made, Europe, along with the rest of the world, still has far to go in order to secure the threats presented by cyberspace. Current important issues include the place of cyber attacks and exploitations in international law, the value of Internet anonymity vs. total security, and future governance of the Internet itself.

European Manufacturing as an Engine for Growth

At a time when financial problems persist, Europe needs its real economy more than ever to underpin the recovery of economic growth and jobs. Manufacturing represents approximately 16 % of the EU’s GDP (down from 20% pre-crisis) and 20 % of its employment, providing more than 30 million jobs in 230 000 enterprises, mostly SMEs. Europe is a world-leader in many strategic sectors such as automotive, aeronautics, engineering, space, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.Industry accounts for 4/5 of Europe’s exports and 80% of private sector R&D investment comes from manufacturing.Industrial activities also have important spillover effects on production and employment in other sectors. For every 100 jobs created in industry, it is estimated that between 60 and 200 new jobs are created in the rest of the economy.

Revitalizing the European-American Security Partnership

Strong global engagement for security (US) and strong verbal commitment to engage in global security (EU): “the European Union is inevitably a global player… it should be ready to share in the responsibility for global security and in building a better world” (European Union Security Strategy 2003). In addition, there is a strong commitment to the transatlantic partnership as the nucleus of global security provision.

“Acting together, the European Union and the United States can be a formidable force for good in the world” (European Security Strategy 2003).

“Our relationship with our European allies remains the cornerstone for U.S. engagement with the world, and a catalyst for international action.” (US National Security Strategy 2010)

However, there is a pronounced disillusionment on both sides of the Atlantic with the US criticizing the EU’s inaction (lack of coherence and capacity) in security issues (despite the newly-created European External Action Service) and the EU, at least most of its members, at times tacking issue with the US’s more robust approach and higher readiness to use force to solve international crises. The NSA tapping has brought the level of trust to a new low.

Europe Re-defined: Transitional Identities

The panel will focus on the European identity in the 21st century, which is still in the process of formation as a result of shifting definitions of nationalism, ethnicities and religions. On the other hand, there is an evident wave of exclusivist political movements in many European countries. The main question is “Does diversity cause resistance which results as ‘racism, nationalism or Islamophobia’ or are we solely witnessing a process of transition where hybrid identities are being created in a rather painful way?”

Will European Football Conquer the American Sports?

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional football league representing the sport’s highest level in both the United States and Canada. Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 as part of the United States’ successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 beginning with ten teams and now the league is composed of 19 teams-16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada with the plans of further expansion.

The recent transfers of world star players such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry have boosted the popularity of European football in USA, however it is still generally considered to be the 4th most popular league after NFL, NBA and NHL.

The panel aims to analyze the future of European football in USA and what should be done to make European football the most popular sport in USA.

Demanding Democracy: The Role of Protests and Media

The past few years have seen a sharp increase in the number of popular protests in Europe. In Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Turkey or Ukraine, youth-led movements have challenged governments in the streets, whether against deeply unpopular austerity measures, rampant corruption and inefficient governance, or increasingly authoritarian behavior by their leaders.

Despite methods and strategies that differ from country to country, with much innovation and creativity, protestors all face the same challenges: how to make their voices heard. Access to the media, in particular, is seen by both protestors and governments as key to advance their interests. Has the increasing importance of social media and the ease to produce persuasive content, empowered populations or conversely increased governments’ ability to control dissent?

Confronting Youth Unemployment in Europe

Europe’s future is at risk. Youth unemployment is above 23 percent inside the European Union, and as high as 59 percent in Greece, 54 percent in Spain, and 42 percent in Italy. This compares to 9 percent unemployment for Europeans aged 25-74, and a youth unemployment rate of 13.5 percent in the United States. Youth unemployment not only threatens the future career development, earnings, and job security of Europe’s next generation, but also breeds nationalist and anti-European Union sentiments – as just witnessed in Switzerland. Indeed, the Prime Minister of Ireland declares that youth unemployment is the EU’s “single biggest crisis.”

Energy Security and the Shale Gas Revolution : Europe’s Chances and Risks

The major trend in European energy security today is the utilization of shale gas through the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a practice which has already revolutionized the US energy market with wide-ranging effects on the global energy business. From France, a vocal opponent of fracking because of the environmental risks, to the other extreme, Poland, countries are looking for ways to diversify their energy supply in order to gain more independence from an agressive Russia, a stance which is shared by neighboring states in Central and Eastern Europe that import almost seventy percent of the gas supplies from Russia. Whether Europe will adopt fracking or not, the EU needs to be prepared for the secondary effects as the shale gas revolution unfolds in the US. Current developments in Europe, including concerns over the future of the future of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, the set-up of liquefied natural gas infrastructure, the gas field developments
in the Eastern Mediterranean, the proposed launch of further nuclear power plants in the UK and the renewable energy developments pushed by Germany, will all impact the future of Europe’s energy security.


Europhiles, Eurosceptics, and Europeans: Who will be in Parliament 2014?

On 22-25 May 2014, European Union citizens will be asked to vote for the 751 European MPs who will represent them in Strasburg and Brussels for the next 5 years.

After a term characterized by a succession of political and economic challenges for the EU, can this election effectively provide the expected reshuffle of the teams, leaders and energies to engage the whole EU in a constructive reform process? Or will it be a failed exercise of democracy in a context of high mistrust and defiance against the politicians and the EU altogether?

This panel aims at creating a discussion around participation, populism and Europhobia, and ways to convey a positive vision for the EU that could be both realistic and engaging during the campaign. Better understanding the mechanics of the European politics and parties, as well as the required type of leadership the European institutions need today, will be at the center of this panel discussion. After it, we expect the audience to feel concerned by these elections – and make the change they envision for the EU happen through them.


Business-Government Relations: Perspectives Across Europe

The panel will draw on the speakers’ experiences to answer several key questions for doing business in the EU today. How has the global crisis affected the banking and financial sector? How are taxation and regulatory frameworks influencing competitiveness and entrepreneurship? What can governments and legislators do to attract foreign investment? What is the geography of business opportunities across the continent? The panel guests hail from government, asset management, banking, financial and legal industry, as well as from varied geographies covering both ”Old” and “New” Europe, and will use their diverse experiences to draw an up-to-date picture of the interaction of states and businesses across the continent.


How Should Europe Manage its Relations with the World?

The power diffusion that is redefining the world’s balance of power is inevitably affecting the role played by Europe in global affairs. Will the power shift represent an opportunity for Europeans to overcome national priorities and allow the EU to act as an integrated actor in the international arena? Will the EU and US be able to finalize the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and set labor and environmental standards at the global level? Will the Ukrainian crisis affect the relations between Brussels and Moscow? These are just some of the many questions that our speakers will try to address in this panel.


31st Annual EPIIC Symposium

Please note that Tufts University is hosting its 31st Annual EPIIC Symposium: "Europe in Turmoil" ahead of the European Conference at Harvard.
 More information can be found here.