Past Events

SCHREMS III: WILL THE EU-US DATA FLOWS FRAMEWORK PASS THE EU COURT’S TEST?

The European Commission has adopted its GDPR adequacy decision for the U.S., creating a new basis for data transfers to the U.S., like those for which Meta has just been fined €1.2 billion. It is nearly certain that the decision will be challenged and that the EU Court of Justice will need to look at EU-U.S. data transfers again, following its landmark decisions in Schrems I and Schrems II.

During this event, our panelists will discuss the legal arguments likely to be made before the Court in that expected future challenge and consider the chances of the adequacy decision being upheld by the Court.

LIBERALISING EUROPE BY RAISING THE BARRIERS TO TRADE

A new EPICENTER Discussion Paper by trade experts from Italy, Spain, and Greece outlines the reasons for scepticism towards free trade in the South of the continent and offers solutions to combat protectionist ideas. Both the paper and our upcoming discussion aims to address the challenges of European trade strategy by reviewing the most common critiques on free trade.

What is the voting behaviour of different political groups in the European Parliament and national MPs in Spain, Italy, and Greece when it comes to FTAs? What are the reasons for trade scepticism in certain pollical parties and can they be addressed early on in the process? Can the EU’s trade negotiation process be sped up or are there too many vested interests to balance?

What is the impact of political realignment on the EU’s trade strategy? Is strategic autonomy the correct way to deal with trade scepticism or is it just a buzzword aimed to replace the negative connotation of protectionism?

NANNY STATE INDEX LAUNCH

European governments are becoming increasingly paternalistic in the way they regulate the lifestyle choices of their citizens. The Nanny State Index – which ranks 30 countries in Europe based on how much they over-regulate eating, drinking, vaping and smoking habits – paints a grim picture of the tendency towards coercive paternalism on the old continent. Our webinar will look at the trends and provide an alternative to excessive regulation that is compatible with individual choice and better health outcomes.

Does increased paternalism lead to better health, as supporters of the nanny state claim? If there is a trade off between lifestyle freedoms and health? If so, are policy makers obliged to choose the latter? What are the most important changes since the last edition of the Index? Did some countries reverse misguided policies that havent led to the desired outcomes – or is over-regulation only a one way street?

During our launch event, the editor of the Index, Christopher Snowdon, will outline the situation across Europe and discuss with guests from three European countries the best and worst regulatory changes that have been implemented in the last two years.

DEBATING DEMOCRACY

Protecting equal democratic rights across all sections of society, irrespective of one’s ethnicity, gender or wealth is a cornerstone of liberal democracies – and still an ongoing battle in most countries across the world. Throughout modern Western history, in various movements from the suffragettes in the UK to the American Civil rights movement, the battle for a freer society was closely interlinked with the ability of democratic participation. Therefore, democratic accountability and individual freedom are concepts which are closely interconnected in most people’s minds.

But is there such a thing as too much democracy? What are the downsides democratising all government institutions, and can they be rectified without endorsing strongmen leaders and letting bureaucracies go wild? What is the history and the future of democratic development across modern societies and how can classical liberals shape the process in the most freedom-friendly way?

Two prominent authors from both sides of the Atlantic will join us for a friendly debate about the merits and problems of democracies. On the occasion of the launch of Eamonn Butler’s new IEA Primer ‘An Introduction to Democracy’ we are delighted to welcome him and Garrett Jones, Author of ’10% less Democracy – Why You Should Trust the Elites a Little More’ to our webinar.

HARM REDUCTION OR HUMBUG?

The European Commission has recently launched several initiatives that will make safer nicotine products less appealing to smokers. The Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) recently published an opinion which downplayed strong evidence showing that e-cigarettes are a gateway from smoking for millions of people, and amplified speculation about hypothetical risks. Shortly afterwards, a draft of Europe’s Beating Cancer (BECA) plan recommended a full ban on e-cigarette flavours and bans on vaping indoors (and even outdoors). Making vaping less accessible and less appealing will have consequences that run directly counter to the Commission’s stated objectives.

What are the most counterproductive policies expressed by the SCHEER committee and the BECA plan? How can evidence-based policy making be put back on the agenda? Can free market liberals endorse any kind of regulation that curbs the freedom of choice of consumers? Join our panel of experts to discuss!

COMPETING AIMS: REFORMING TAX POLICY ACROSS EUROPE AFTER COVID

Tax competition is often presented as a zero-sum game, instead of an important policy tool that can foster growth and create further opportunities to all participants of the economy. Globalisation created a world where capital is highly mobile and businesses can choose competitive economies with the highest possible returns on their investment. Countries with simple and neutral tax systems have better chances of attracting investment, minimising tax evasion, and maximising economic growth. Yet, many European countries have chosen a path of complicated tax regimes, with high overall taxation and a great number of loopholes and exemptions.

STATE AID & FAIR COMPETITION

EPICENTER is delighted to invite you to an event co-hosted by our Lithuanian member think tank and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

The discussion aims to shed light on the problems that state aid creates and find ways to create free and fair competition within the Single Market.

Experts from three of our member think tanks, together with representatives of the European Commission and Parliament will provide their insights on the State Aid Modernisation Reform conducted by the EU in 2012.