Canada and EU

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September 21, 2016 - by Kurt Huebner, IES University of British Columbia


February 2-3, 2017,  at the Institute for European Studies (IES) of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Call for Papers, Deadline for abstracts: 31.10.2016, Notification of accepted abstracts: 15.11.2016, Deadline for conference papers: 16.01.2017 

The financial and economic crises since 2007 have pulled central banks into the spotlight, seeing them first fight financial panics, then recession and the threat of deflation. Consequently central bankers’ tool kits have changed substantially and now compromise instruments that go far beyond the setting of short-term interest rates. Never before have central banks been so critical for safeguarding market capitalism in times of economic and political challenges. In many places, central banking has become the only game in town (El-Erian 2016). In the words of Mario Draghi (2016): “With rare exceptions, monetary policy has been the only policy in the last four years to support growth.”

As a consequence central bankers, who normally pride themselves for being boring and cautious technocrats, now find themselves in the midst of fierce political debates. They have been blamed for overstepping their mandates, failing to prevent the last crisis, and setting the stage for the next one. Since it is increasingly recognized that monetary policies have hefty direct and indirect implications for governments’ general economic policies, central banks have become ever more political and politicized institutions.

Arguably, the European Central Bank (ECB) has undergone the greatest transformation – from single-minded inflation-fighter to lender of last resort to banks and governments. At the same time, it has become the most contested central bank in the Western world. As the world’s only central bank without a state, the ECB’s Governing Council comprises members from heterogeneous countries, with different business cycles and different economic problems. The contested issues the ECB faces range from the legality of its programs and the lender of last resort-function, to the TARGET mechanisms and implications of its monetary policies for fiscal policy and structural reforms in member countries.

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Canada marks 40 years of relations with European Union

This article marks the 40th anniversary of formal relations between the EU and Canada and features an interview with Jeremy Kinsman by Ivan Watson. It was published in the Saanich News

 Sept 13, 2016 by Ivan Watson

" When a young Jeremy Kinsman joined the staff of the Canadian Mission to the European Economic Community in 1968 as its first political officer, the office conditions were less than ideal. “I don’t think most people knew we had a mission. It was just a start up mission and it was in the attic of the Canadian Embassy to Belgium.”

Working in cramped quarters, Kinsman notes that Canada’s ambassador to Belgium doubled as the ambassador to the European Community. The work was of a limited, technical nature as Canada’s trading relationship with the then six members of the European Community was relatively small. Canada’s most important economic relationship was with the American market. “We’d allowed our country to become what was called a branch plant economy of the United States,” notes Kinsman. “It made our vulnerability to sudden decision-making acute.” Reacting to a number of economic stresses, in 1971 U.S. President Richard Nixon unleashed chaos in the global economy by abandoning the gold standard and imposing an import surcharge. 

For Canadian officials, “It was a traumatic shock,” Kinsman said..." For more visit

Jeremy Kinsman is a former Canadian diplomat. He served as Minister in Washington, Ambassador in Moscow, Rome, and Brussels (EU) and as High Commissioner in London. Since 2006, he is Diplomat in Residence at Princeton University, Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and Distinguished Visiting Diplomat at Ryerson University, Toronto.


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