Revamped sex education program aims to raise Danish birth rates

In an effort to breathe new life into a rapidly-aging population, Danish sex educators are adopting a new approach that will promote sex and parenthood. Instead of teaching teenagers how to avoid pregnancy, educators will discuss pregnancy in a more favorable manner, perhaps even teaching students “how to get pregnant.” In a country where birth rates have been unsustainably low since the 1970s, the program aims to overcome a perceived aversion to parenthood that has been exacerbated by high unemployment and economic uncertainty.

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Rideshare service Uber files new complaints with European Commission

Taxi competitor Uber has filed a series of new complaints with the European Commission in response to legal battles with member states over their bans on the popular smartphone-based service, which is valued at $40 billion. In addition to two earlier complaints against France, Uber filed a complaint against Spain on Monday and another against Germany on Wednesday.

Which EU countries accept the most refugees from the Syrian conflict?

Germany and Sweden have taken a leading role in the resettlement of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict. Out of more than 217,000 refugees that have found new homes in Europe since the conflict began in 2011, more than 110,000 now live in Germany and Sweden. Four more EU members host a combined forty thousand refugees, while most of the remaining EU member states have only accepted several dozen to a few thousand refugees.

In comparison, the United States has admitted only 352 refugees as of mid-December 2014, but it is in the process of vetting and admitting roughly ten thousand more refugees over the next two years, according to the US State Department and a report by Amnesty International. It is important to note that the US can not necessarily admit Syrian refugees on the same scale as Germany or Sweden; US law caps the admission of refugees globally at seventy thousand per year.

The EU has been criticized for being ineffective at handling the refugee crisis, specifically regarding the fact that only a select few nations are admitting refugees in sufficient numbers.

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At S&D TTIP panel, interest groups warn of trade deal risks

By Jared Angle

BRUSSELS — American and European trade officials met with interest group representatives to discuss potential outcomes of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in a panel discussion at the European Parliament on Nov. 18.

Hosted by the EP’s centre-left Socialists and Democrats bloc and the International Trade committee, the panel brought Deputy US Trade Representative Michael Punke and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström together with experts from European and American consumer protection and labor rights groups.

Journalists and panelists at the Nov. 18 discussion on TTIP.

Journalists and panelists at the Nov. 18 discussion on TTIP.

Projected tariff reductions under TTIP will allow companies to pass savings onto consumers and will allow new companies to begin exporting to international markets, according to Malmström.

“We will deliver a TTIP that is good for consumers; not bad, not ugly,” Malmström said.

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US-EU trade agreement could benefit small, medium companies

By Jared Angle

WASHINGTON — The upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will provide a boost for small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) in the United States and Europe, according to business leaders and industry analysts in a panel discussion on Nov. 14.

The event, hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based international relations think tank, coincides with the release of a report examining the agreement’s effect on SMEs.

The report, written by Garrett Workman of the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program, identifies major export challenges for SMEs and proposes policy changes that would encourage American and European SMEs to begin exporting products or increase the volume of their existing exports.

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Europarl defection causes EFDD political group disintegration

By Jared Angle

BRUSSELS — Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), the eurosceptic political group led by UK Independence Party MEP Nigel Farage, dissolved Thursday following the defection of a key Latvian MEP.

MEP Iveta Grigule, a member of the Latvian Farmers Union party, left her position in the group Thursday morning, according to EU news website EurActiv and sources in Parliament (EP).

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EU flags fly at the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. Photo by Jared Angle.

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The role of ISDS in contemporary EU trade agreements

By Jared Angle

BRUSSELS — Much of the recent debate over European Union trade negotiations, specifically regarding transatlantic trade agreements with Canada and the United States, has fixated on the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement, commonly known as ISDS.

Incoming Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said Sept. 29 that the ISDS chapter of TTIP negotiations is currently frozen, and will be revisited at a later date.

Outgoing Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht initially stripped ISDS from TTIP negotiations due to German resistance to the legal mechanism, but he insists that ISDS is a crucial investment protection tool that belongs in a finalized version of TTIP, according to Martina Ferracane, a policy analyst at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a think tank based in Brussels.

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Commissioner-Designate Cecilia Malmström: Confirmation Hearing Highlights

Members of the European Parliament, led by the Committee on International Trade, questioned Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (ALDE, Sweden) on her ability to serve as the EU’s 15th trade commissioner during a two-and-a-half hour hearing on Sept. 29.

Malmström, 46, currently holds the Commission’s Home Affairs portfolio, and is expected to begin her second term in the Commission on Nov. 1.

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US, EU negotiators to meet for 7th round of TTIP talks

By Jared Angle

American and European trade representatives will meet next week for a seventh round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a prospective free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union.

The negotiations, which will take place outside Washington, are scheduled to last from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, according to the European Commission.

The entrance to Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, in Brussels.

The entrance to Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, in Brussels. Photo by Jared Angle.

The US is the EU’s largest trading partner; in 2011, the EU exported €250 billion in goods and services to the US and imported €187 billion.[1] With the tariff reductions and other market liberalization features in a prospective TTIP agreement, trade volume and job growth would increase significantly for both economies.

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NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen delivers final Washington address

New threats give alliance a new purpose

By Jared Angle

WASHINGTON –– New military and economic threats in Europe, Russia and the Middle East will reinvigorate the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to the military alliance’s top official.

Outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke on July 7 at the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy research institute, in one of his final addresses to American audiences before the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales.

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen speaks at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago.

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen speaks at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. Photo by Jared Angle.

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