January - June 2009

EU-NATO: Strengthening the Cooperation
22 January 2009 - AINA
MEP Ari Vatanen presented a report to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the role of NATO in the security framework of the European Union. The report, which was adopted by a large majority of the committee, calls for the EU to strengthen its relationship with the Alliance and outlines and offers solutions to the main problems that currently hinder effective cooperation between the two. Strengthening the Transatlantic relations, the cornerstone of EU-NATO relations remains a key component to a better partnership, as does a more effective division of labor. Other recommendations include the creation of an EU Operation Headquarter and the resolution of tensions between Turkey and Cyprus.
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Brown Hopes for Early Visit to Oval Office
21 January 2009 - www.buzzle.com
Although Gordon Brown may not be the first to visit Barak Obama in the White House, the British Prime Minister is certainly interested in refashioning "Britain's 'special relationship' with the US after eight bruising years with George Bush." British ambassador to Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald is not at all put off by Britain 's place in the line of European diplomats eager to welcome the new US president. According to Sheinwald, "It actually strengthens the UK, and helps the UK-US relationship, if America does have good relations with France and Germany ... It can only improve things if Europe as a whole is seen to be co-operating actively, both militarily but also economically, round the world in concert with the US."
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Music to Europe's ears
21 January 2009 - Guardian, Roland Rudd
As President Obama told the world that the US is "ready to lead once more," his words ignited hopes in Europe for a new chapter in transatlantic relations. The new president has a 69% favorability rating among Europeans, and leaders across the continent have welcomed his election. Most pressing for the transatlantic partnership is the economic agenda. Business leaders have highlighted the three main issues: continued and enhanced EU-US cooperation to combat the financial crisis and economic downturn; collaboration to bolster the open, multilateral trading system; face the challenge of climate change together.
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Sarkozy's Europe Is Good for Obama
14 January 2009 - Brookings/International Herald Tribune - Feeriga Bindi, Charles Kupchan, Justine Vaisse
The United States has been ambivalent about European unity for decades. However, despite the tensions created by the Georgia-Russia crisis of the past year, a "unified and pro-active Europe is preferable to one that remains a lethargic U.S. lapdog." Criticisms of the recent French Presidency of the EU ignore the fact that the Europe needs an energetic leader like Nicholas Sarkozy "to assert itself on the global stage." The accomplishments of the EU while Sarkozy was at the help - a ceasefire in South Ossetia, a fast response to the financial crisis, attention to global warming, strengthening of the EU-NATO partnership, and more - should be recognized by the Obama administration as "the stirrings of the more capable and collective European partner that the United States so sorely needs."
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EU urges Obama to help boost transatlantic ties
20 January 2009 - www.eubusiness.com
In a press release on Tuesday, the European Union "urged new US President Barack Obama... to help strengthen transatlantic bonds." This assertion from Brussels was reiterated in a separate statement by Barroso, President of the European Commission, who called for EU-US cooperation in confronting international challenges resulting from the ongoing global economic crisis. The Czech EU-Presidency also added: "Acting together represents one of the best ways to respond to the needs and hopes of peoples on both sides of the Atlantic." In addition to EU members, leaders from around the globe took this morning's inauguration as an opportunity to welcome President Obama to office, paving the way for what many hope to be improved ties with the United States. 
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European Parliament debates the Czech Presidency
14 January 2009 - European Council press release
The European Parliament met this week in Strasbourg to debate the priorities of the Czech EU-Presidency. Topics addressed at this discussion included: the European economy, energy initiatives, the future of the Lisbon Treaty, the role of the EU in the world, the future of transatlantic relations, and a variety of other pertinent issues. Speaking for the United Kingdom , MEP Timothy Kirkhope heralded the transatlantic alliance as, "vital to our security and our prosperity."
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U.S. signs strategic partnership pact with Georgia
09 January 2009 - Reuters UK - Paul Eckert
On Friday the US signed a 'strategic partnership' with the Republic of Georgia. Although many in the former-Soviet nation had hoped for a more direct path to NATO membership, the recent agreement does include a plan for US-Georgian cooperation in "defense, trade, energy security, cultural exchanges and [the] strengthening democratic institutions." According to language included under the new charter, " Georgia would [also] get U.S. help in modernizing its military through training and equipment, postwar reconstruction assistance, support for financial and economic reforms, and expanded access to the U.S. market for Georgian goods."
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Book asks "What is the West?"
Review of Philippe Nemo's What is the West?
Weaving together political events, philosophical discoveries, religious movements, and innovations in science and technology, Philippe Nemo's book What is the West? lays out the factors that have influenced and shaped Western culture. In this volume, recently translated into English by Kenneth Casler with a forward by Michael Novak, the author argues that the contemporary conception of 'the West' is but a single cultural entity to which Western Europe and North America belong. Tracing the development of the West through six millennia, Nemo begins in the cities of Greece with scientific debate before taking the reader to Rome to witness the birth of humanism and private law. Examining the Papal Revolution next, the story of the West soon gives way to the rise of the liberal democracies and the universality of Western Culture. Before concluding, Nemo makes the case "For a Union of the West," falling into step with the idea of former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.
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Click here to read more about Balladur's proposals.
For more on Balladur's Streit-Council-sponsored visit to Washington promote his ideas, follow these links:
Press Conference at the National Press Club
Meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations
Address at SAIS

Leaning Closer
12 January 2009 - Daniel Dombey & Tony Barber, Financial Times
As Barack Obama prepares to take office next week, observers of the transatlantic alliance predict greater agreement on a range of issues. Obama has already pledged his support for reducing carbon emissions, a move that has been met with enthusiasm in Europe. Talks of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay have evoked guarantees of support from European allies to take on detainees or provide financial and logistical resources to other countries to do so. With the 60th anniversary of NATO approaching in April, the issue of Afghanistan and the need for increased troop levels as well as human and financial resources to train Afghani police and military is not far from anyone's mind. The closer ideological bond between the new American administration and European leaders may provide the foundation for further cooperation on these tough issues.
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"The US and Europe Standing Shoulder to Shoulder"
12 January 2009 - Frank-Walter Steinmeir, German Foreign Minister
Spiegel Online International
In a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir enumerated issues on which the United States and Europe could stand "shoulder to shoulder" as part of a "New Trans-Atlantic Agenda." Citing the inspiration Obama has given to people around the world and examining the staggering challenges facing the new administration, Steinmeir pointed out that no country can solve these problems alone. The Foreign Minister cited four broad areas in which the US and Europe can cooperate: "working together for stability in conflict regions;" "working towards security in both East and West;" striving "for a global community of shared responsibility;" and recognizing that "change has come to America" and the possibilities embodied in that statement.
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The European Union awards Gift of International Education
07 January 2009 - mync.com - Robin McMahon
The EU recently awarded an education grant amounting to tens of thousands of dollars to a small middle school in North Carolina, again. "In the summer of 2006, the Delegation of the European Commission of Washington released their first "call for proposals- ‘Getting to Know Europe' grant." Robin McMahon, a French teacher from Smith Middle School (Chapel Hill, NC), took advantage of this opportunity by submitting a plan for how she proposed to "spend $70,000 while meeting the EU's objectives of helping [the] school and local communities learn more about the EU." McMahon's proposal included education about EU "policies, institutions and how they affect everyday life in Europe, as well as [raising] awareness about the EU's role on the international economic and political stages." These ideas, as well as a proposed educational trip to Europe, caught the eye of the application readers and in 2007, McMahon's plan was approved. Smith Middle School received the annual grant once more this year and will again use a portion of the money to take a new class of 36 more students to Europe in March. The Delegation of the European Commission of Washington hopes that education, coupled with European trips like this one, will help promote strong transatlantic ties well into the future.
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How Janet Napolitano, the US head of homeland security, can improve EU-US relations
23 April 2009 - European Voice.com, Brooks Tigner
President Obama's choice to lead the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) has an opportunity to make a large contribution to improving transatlantic relations. Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona , "is positioning the US government to work with Europe in place of issuing provocative unilateral measures, as was the habit of the previous administration". Much of the focus is on immigration policies and technologies, areas where the two sides can learn from each other. Napolitano is also tasked with providing a more stable structure to a DHS that "has suffered constant upheaval since its creation in late 2001".
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Strasbourg: Support of the European Parliament to Balkan integrations
23 April 2009 - Radio Srbija
The European Parliament today passed a resolution supporting "acceleration of the process of West Balkan countries' integration with the EU". The EP does not believe that some "unresolved issues" with member states should be an obstacle to EU expansion into the Balkan states. The Parliament welcomed the decision to expand the Economic Recuperation Plan to the West Balkans and asked for measures to aid in the process of stabilization and association with all regional countries. "However, they have once again pointed that the arrest and extradition of the remaining Hague indictees represents a key prerequisite to continue the process of association with the Union."
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Brussels Quietly Trains a Foreign Service
21 April 2009 - Spiegel Online
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is beginning to train "hundreds of bureaucrats" in the diplomatic arts. They are taking courses at universities and international academies on "Political Analysis" and "Handling the Media" to get ready for potential future service to the EU. These diplomats would become part of the European External Action Service, a key provision called for in the Lisbon Treaty. The EU has also already purchased and began moving into an office building in London to house this corps. Barroso's idea is that if the Treaty is ratified this corps of personnel will be ready and able to hit the ground running.
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Final Statement from the 66th EP/US Interparliamentary Meeting
20 April 2009 - Joint Statement
Between 18-20 April, representatives gathered in the Czech Republic for the 66th meeting of Delegations from the European Parliament and the United States House of Representatives. Upon completion of the three day summit, EU and US representatives released a joint final statement reflecting their efforts. As testament to the principles of transatlantic cooperation, which serves as the basis for this assembly, the participants reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation across the Atlantic through continued dialogue between national leaders and representatives. More specifically, the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue (TLD) came together, supporting the appointment of George Mitchell as Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process, as well as reaching consensus on the necessary steps to ensure the development of a durable and mutually acceptable peace agreement between Israel and Palestinian Authorities. Other subjects of agreement included: a mutual commitment to enhanced EU-US cooperation in the Afghanistan stability and reconstruction effort, a joint strategy aimed at addressing Iran 's nuclear ambitions, and a cooperative approach on the further development of diplomatic relations with Russia . The TLD also discussed the feasibility of setting up mutually compatible cap-and-trade systems to combat climate change, a process that will continue at the UN negotiations in Copenhagen later this year. Representatives reiterated EU-US resolve in the value of a coordinated approach to address the current financial crisis, including EU-US coordination on the reform of international financial institutions. In addition to a number of supplementary points of cooperation, TLD-members expressed support for continued extension of the ‘US Visa Waiver Program' and encouraged resolution of disputes stemming from the apparent incongruence between US congressional policy and WTO policies regarding internet gambling regulation. Further, all participating delegates voiced strong confirmation regarding the importance of the Transatlantic Economic Council, encouraging greater collective utilization and institutional transparency as a means to successfully combat the global recession.
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US Representatives Discuss US Foreign Policy at Trans-Atlantic Legislators Dialogue
17 April 2009 - Interview with Radio Free Europe
Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada) and Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia), in Prague as part of the Trans-Atlantic Legislators' Dialogue with lawmakers from EU member states, were interviewed by Radio Free Europe correspondents today. The topics up for discussion included the new administration's stance on the promotion of democracy, relations with Russia, China and Iran, as well as the situation in Afghanistan. There seems to be some concern in Europe, specifically the more eastern states, as to whether the Obama administration will "shift now toward a greater pragmatism in relations with partners such as China and Russia" at the expense of promoting democratic reforms. Rep. Berkley believes, "reaching out and speaking to other countries although you don't necessarily agree with them does not necessarily mean a change of course and a change of focus for the United States of America" on the topic of democratization.
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Learning from Each Other: The Integration and Minority Groups in the United States and Europe
16 April 2009 - Center for American Progress, Spencer P. Boyer
This report offers suggestions to both the Obama Administration and the EU on how to best deal with current immigration issues and what lessons each side could learn from the other. The United States and European Union share many common ideas and stances but when it comes to integrating minority populations they often have different ideas. These differences stem mostly from varied historical experiences and it is by looking at these differences that lessons may be learned by all. "Integration is not solely a social or cultural issue, but also one that has important public policy implications for both the United States and Europe ... Ultimately, only those countries capable of effectively managing and harnessing the power of diversity in employment, education, and other areas are likely to be successful in the 21st century." These issues also have an effect on the security atmosphere because disenfranchisement can be a large factor in creating radical groups on both sides of the Atlantic. Overall, the two sides have much they can learn from one another and many areas where collaboration could prove useful.
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Top business group offers a ‘model economic partnership'
16 April 2009 - Hurriyet Daily News
A leading business association in Turkey has released a report encouraging the United States and Turkey to devoting significant efforts to bolstering the economic component of their partnership. The Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) called the US "Turkey's indispensable partner in transatlantic relations" for its role in promoting closer links between Turkey and the EU. Proposals in the report include the establishment of an agency in the Turkish government devoted to increasing trade relations with the US ; increasing investment by Turkish companies in the US ; and encouraging joint ventures between companies in the two countries. Authors of the report also noted the role that Turkey can play in assisting the US on issues in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and the Caucasus, as well as in making progress towards Middle East peace. Securing the Nabucco pipeline and hampering the actions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party were also cited in the report as initiatives on which Turkey and the US could cooperate.
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US Representatives Travel to Europe for Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue
14 April 2009 - Timesleader.com, Andrew Seder
U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke from Pennsylvania will join nine additional members of the US House of Representatives in "Europe this week for the annual EU-U.S. summit conducted by the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue." Reportedly, British MEP Peter Skinner, chairman of the European Parliamentary Insurance Caucus and the European Parliamentary Financial Services Forum, extended the transatlantic invitation to Kanjoski, who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises. "The Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue was established by the Transatlantic Declaration of 1990 and holds annual EU-US summit meetings. Members of the European Parliament will join with U.S. congressmen to discuss the global economic crisis."
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Meeting of EU National Lisbon Coordinators
14 April 2009 - Press Release - Czech EU Presidency
On April 22nd, the Czech Presidency will host a meeting of EU member states' National Coordinators of the Lisbon Treaty. Discussions on the future shape of ‘Lisbon Strategy' are expected to dominate the conference, which is slated to take place at Wallenstein Palace in the Czech capital. EU representatives will present and consider possibilities for future improvement in the implementation and delivery of the Treaty. Pursuant to the current global economic situation, "the meeting will also provide an opportunity to assess progress in implementing structural measures designed to stir economic recovery." Advocates of the Lisbon Treaty contend that its comprehensive adoption would streamline EU decision making, allowing the EU to forge more complete and cooperative arrangements with allied international actors. Although the Lisbon Treaty still requires popular approval from Irish voters, the upper chamber of the Czech parliament, and final endorsement from the historically skeptical Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, proponents of the initiative maintain optimism regarding the treaty's eventual implementation.
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Steps to Rebuild a Transatlantic Partnership in International Law
March 2009 - The Atlantic Council of the United States
In a recent publication, the Atlantic Council of the United States urges the Obama administration to pursue closer transatlantic relations through greater judicial concurrence. The Council advises the US President to enhance legal cooperation between the United States and its European allies through the initiation of dialogue between justice ministers and among foreign ministry legal advisers. Additionally, the paper recommends US leadership to actively seek the ratification of one or two existing treaties that would signal a strengthened US commitment to principles of international law. Other advice offered in the Atlantic Council publication include: US actions to become a party to Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, and strengthen cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), including participation in the Special Working Group which seeks to define the crime of aggression and formalize details regarding ICC jurisdiction.
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Italian Foreign Minister and former European Commission Vice-President calls for joint EU-US summit on the Balkans
7 April 2009 - Serbianna News Wire
Meeting with his European counterparts and the American President in Prague , Italian Foreign Minister and former European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini proposed an ambitious 8-point plan that envisions a bolder and more cooperative role for the European Union and the United States in stabilizing the Balkan region. The proposal, which would involve an EU summit with active American participation, aims to strengthen the region's stability through granting full EU membership to Croatia by 2010, a development that will be followed shortly thereafter by the admission of Montenegro and Serbia and finally the accession of Albania. Mr. Frattini expressed his confidence that only through carefully measured diplomacy from both sides of the Atlantic could it be ensured that Albania and Serbia will refrain from exercising their vetoes to allow the other country into the EU and NATO respectively, and that the result would be greater regional stabilization and a stronger transatlantic partnership.
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EU Parliament undertakes campaign to raise awareness of election
6 April 2009 - theParliament.com
The European Parliament has allocated eighteen million euros for a campaign that is designed to raise awareness of the upcoming MEP elections. Featuring the slogan "European election, it's your choice," the initiative will include posters, TV and radio spots, and seminars, and will seek to engage voters through websites such as MySpace and Facebook. In video booths across Europe, citizens will be able to record messages expressing their impressions of the EU. Billboards and "roadshows" are also in the works for the campaign which will center around ten themes, including consumer concerns, security, and energy. Some have ridiculed the campaign on the basis of its value. Others, such as Simon Hix of the London School of Economics and Political Science, are doubtful of the success of the campaign. Hix predicted that the "election will once again be decided on national issues." A spokesman for the parliament said that the non-partisan campaign will cost the equivalent of five cents per voter and "aims to be truly European...with a single message common to all member states."
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Turkey hailed as critical to transatlantic and East-West relations
06 April 2009 - New York Times
The day after an E.U.-U.S. summit in Prague during which he expressed support for Turkish membership in the European Union, President Obama visited the Turkish Republic on Monday and hailed Ankara 's critical role in the institutions governing transatlantic relations. Praising the country as a "resolute ally and a responsible partner in transatlantic and European institutions," Mr. Obama made specific mention of Turkish contributions in the fields of energy and security policy. This address comes on the heels of Turkish participation in highly-touted meetings at the G-20 in London and at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg , during which the transatlantic community developed a consensus on key political, economic, and security-related policies. As the first Muslim country to host Mr. Obama and as the country boasting the second largest army in NATO, Turkey serves as a critical juncture "not where East and West divide....[but] where they come together," according to Mr. Obama. During his address to the Turkish parliament, the President noted Turkish assistance to NATO's mission in Afghanistan and expressed his desire to secure a prosperous transatlantic relationship with a nation that he hailed as both "a critical ally..[and] an important part of Europe."
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US President to accentuate transatlantic relations while in Europe
01 April 2009 - BBC News
Last night, US President Barack Obama began his first visit across the Atlantic since he officially took office in January. Obama arrived in London a number of days ahead of the G20 Summit in order to attend bilateral meetings and public addresses with a long list of prominent international leaders. As expected, the US administration continued its policy of overtly close relations with Britain. In his first public address in London, Obama was joined on the podium by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Both leaders spoke about the vital need for coordinated action in order to subdue the global economic crisis; however, Brown was keen to repeat the importance of renewing the ‘special relationship' traditionally enjoyed by the UK and the US. Now referring to this bond as a "partnership of purpose," Brown acknowledged that "global solutions are needed to global problems." In addition to meetings with Brown, Obama has also been granted an audience with Queen Elizabeth II. Experts contend that these pre-summit, bilateral meetings are critically important in the process of negotiating the final details of national positions leading up to the G20. Prior to the summit, the US president is expected to engage in bilateral talks with heads of states from Russia, China, India, and South Korea among others. In addition to the G20 summit, Obama is also scheduled to attend the 60th anniversary NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl later this week. Many view the US president's trip as a crucial opportunity to reinvigorate the US-European relationship that was strained during the past eight years. In confirmation of this idea, Obama plans to deliver a speech in France highlighting the importance of the transatlantic partnership, as well as an address in Prague on the litigious subject of arms reductions later this week. Finally, the US leader will travel to Turkey, a NATO member that is considered essential to the Atlantic Alliance and US-EU interests in the region. 
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G8 Labor Ministers Urge Measures to Contain Unemployment
30 March 2009 - Dow Jones Business News
Ministers representing G8 member-states will meet for one more day in Rome , while attending the G8 Social Summit. Social and Labor ministers from the participating nations have been discussing proposals aimed at providing support for employment markets of those countries that have been hardest hit by the current international financial crisis. In addition to representatives from Italy, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada, the United States and Russia, the Social Summit has also enjoyed contributions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Additionally, "G8 labor ministers are due to be joined by their counterparts from China , India , Brazil , Mexico , Egypt and South Africa Tuesday for the third and final day of the meeting."
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Energy Resources: A trans-Atlantic energy bridge?
30 March 2009 - UPI
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a partnership between the US and Germany to lead the world on green energy and climate protection. The statement came as the First German-American Energy Conference opened in Berlin on Monday, bringing together energy experts from Europe and the US with a clear focus on the emerging clean-energy market in the United States. The head of the German energy agency DENA, Stephan Kohler, pointed out that the boom of green energy and the search for renewable sources of energy in the US presents German companies with "outstanding export opportunities, standing as they do at the forefront of the renewables market in many areas."
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EU Parliament votes in favor of Transatlantic Political Council and Assembly
26 March 2009 - European Parliament Press Release
26 March 2009 - Financiarul
On Thursday, members of the EU Parliament voted 503 to 51 (with 10 abstentions) to adopt a report "calling for a new [transatlantic] institutional architecture including a political council and a joint transatlantic assembly." The report by Francisco José MILLÁN MON (EPP-ED, ES), which advocates the creation of a Transatlantic Political Council, describes the EU-US relationship...as ‘the most important strategic partnership' for the EU." During Wednesday's plenary meeting of the European Parliament, Romanian MEP Adrian Severin, of the Social Democratic Party reflected, "it clear that ‘this report does not only deal with the consolidation of the transatlantic relations, but also with striking the balance of these relations.'" Severin, a strong advocate of the report stated, "There are asymmetries between the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean negatively affecting the transatlantic cooperation. This is why the political consolidation of the European Union is quite essential for the future cooperation with the United States." The proposed Transatlantic Political Council would act as a forum for scheduled consultation on issues such as foreign policy and mutual security concerns between high ranking representatives from both sides of the Atlantic. The Transatlantic Political Council "would be chaired by the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission on the EU side and by the Secretary of State on the US side, and would meet at least every three months." The second proposed institution is the creation of a ‘joint parliamentary committee' to replace the current Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue. MEPs argue that this new committee would be comprised of "Members of the European Parliament and the US Congress, and should meet twice yearly. The joint parliamentary committee should be able to make proposals to the Economic and Political Councils and to the EU-US summits." The report also emphasized the importance of lifting barriers that have hindered the effectiveness of the Transatlantic Economic Council since its inception.
(European Parliament Press Release, Read More)

Single European Sky: MEPs lead the way to shorter, safer and cheaper flights
25 March 2009 - European Parliament
The European Parliament has adopted the "Single European Sky II" (SES II) measure, a new package of regulations designed to improve European aviation in the areas of safety, cost efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Member states will implement common rules and performance targets for their aviation systems as well as coordinating air traffic. One key development in the new legislation is the requirement for member states to work through the Community bodies to form Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs). The creation and integration of FABs will result in fewer delays and less fuel consumption as regional bodies take over regulation from national authorities. SES II comes nine years after the original legislation. Estimates predict that European air traffic will double by 2020 creating a need for greater harmonization at the Community level. The measures contained in SES II are expected to save the aviation industry an estimated two to three billion euros over the next ten years while cutting an estimated sixteen million tones of carbon dioxide emissions.
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Atlantic Eye: Sarkozy's European voice
24 March 2009 - Middle East Times - Marc S. Ellenbogen
In a recent article published by the Middle East Times, Chairman of the Global Panel Foundation, Marc S. Ellenbogen applauded French President Nicolas Sarkozy's six-month EU presidency. Ellenbogen asserts, by bringing his personal and impassioned style of politics to the previous EU presidency, Sarkozy was able to break the familiar mold of easily stalled supranational European policy formation. The French President finally provided the EU with a strong, collective voice of leadership. Aided by the establishment of a strong, and perhaps unexpected, partner in Germany, Sarkozy's efforts were rewarded with a number of organizational achievements including the successful negotiation of the Copenhagen agreement on CO2 reduction. During his term leading the EU presidency, Sarkozy was able achieve a level of transatlantic cooperation not seen in the last decade. "Sarkozy, an Atlanticist, [also] focused on making ESDP and NATO more complimentary." One of the most important aspects of this last achievement was attainable in part by Sarkozy's ability "to show that Europe could indeed muster military and security capacity."
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Renewed commitment to transatlantic cooperation from Baltic Ministers of Foreign Affairs
24 March 2009 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia
"The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania and representatives of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro and of the Secretary of State of the United States of America convened in Riga, Latvia to further our dialogue aimed at supporting the countries of the Western Balkans in their pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration." In a joint press statement, leaders from the participating nations expressed, "confidence in transatlantic cooperation and a shared commitment to integration, security, and democracy."
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US Institutions in Bulgaria Firmly Support Passy NATO Bid
24 March 2009 - Sofia News Agency
In a pair of open letters, The American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria and the American University in Bulgaria have both declared their support for Solomon Passy in a bid to become the next NATO Secretary General. "In its letter to the US President, Barack Obama, the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) said that there was no other nominee for NATO Secretary General, who had been more involved in the efforts to expand the Alliance." As testament to his qualifications, the AUBG highlighted Passy's role in the founding of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria (a prominent Bulgarian NGO - committed to Bulgarian integration with and role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as well as his contribution to the establishment and promotion of democracy in Georgia and Ukraine. "The American Chamber of Commerce letter mentions Solomon Passy's contribution to Bulgaria's accession to NATO, and the Euro-Atlantic political and economic structures."
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Europe Grapples for a Collective Energy Approach
23 March 2009 - Peter B. Doran, The Cutting Edge
Member states of the European Union should use enhanced cooperation through a pioneer group to address the vulnerability of the European energy security, writes Peter Doran. The stopping of natural gas flows into Europe from Russia demonstrated the need for a coherent policy on energy security within the 27-nation bloc. Many states showed a willingness to "go it alone", including direct, bilateral negotiations with Moscow and consideration of potentially dangerous solutions. However, some members showed cooperation during the crisis, as when Greece provided emergency supplies to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic turned to Germany for help in obtaining natural gas from Norway . While it may be difficult to gain consensus from all members on a bloc-wide energy security policy, Dolan argues that those states interested can take the initiative and form a pioneer group. Instead, interested states could form a pioneer group within the framework of enhanced cooperation. Following the model of NATO, a supply disruption to one member of the group would be treated as a supply distribution to all members, strengthening European cooperation and decreasing dependence on Russian-controlled energy.
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EU Attempts to Bring Collective Position to G20
20 March 2009 - Reuters 
Led by heads of the most prominent countries in the 27-state block, EU premiers met on Friday and agreed on a collective position to bring to the G20 meeting in London . Highlights from this agreement include a commitment to: restore credit flows, avoid protectionist policies, support a multilateral initiative on trade finance, and reach a Doha trade deal. The joint EU stance also includes the strengthening of, and increased reliance on international economic institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. EU leaders hope to increase international fiscal stability by yielding greater regulatory responsibilities to newly strengthened multilateral economic institutions. The EU also agreed: the G20 should promote global development in struggling and emerging markets around the world.
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Barrot Heads to DC for Visa Waiver, Guantanamo Inmates Talks
16 March 2009 - Sofia News Agency
On Monday, The Vice-President of the European Commission, Jacques Barrot, will visit Washington, DC to discuss "full reciprocity in visa-free travel between the EU and the US." Since 2008, the US has been systematically removing traveler-visa requirements for most EU member countries through the US Visa Waiver Program. Barrot, who will be accompanied by Czech Republic Interior Minister Ivan Langer, is expected to advocate official visa waivers for the remaining five EU member states. Langer and Barrot will also meet with US Attorney General, Eric Holder, and US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano to discuss "a potential bilateral agreement on personal data protection." In conjunction with data protection, the two European diplomats will discuss necessary steps to functionally address the issue of EU-US cooperation on the relocation of innocent Guantanamo Bay inmates.
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Remarks With Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, European Union External Relations Commission Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and European Union High Representative Javier Solana
6 March 2009 - U.S. State Department
After a meeting in Brussels on Friday among the US Secretary of State, Czech Foreign Minister, and foreign affairs officials of the EU, confirmation was given that President Barack Obama will participate in a formal summit in Prague in April, following the meeting of the G20 in London. Other topics addressed in the discussion included Afghanistan, energy security, climate change, Russia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and aspects of the financial crisis. In her remarks, Secretary Clinton confirmed that the Obama administration intends to "energize the transatlantic relationship and to promote a strong European Union." She also expressed her belief that NATO and the EU "can and should cooperate seamlessly; indeed to meet our common challenges they must."
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Brown Tells Congress To ‘Seize This Moment'
5 March 2009 - The Washington Post, Ben Pershing
In a speech to a joint session of Congress, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on both the United Kingdom and the United States to "renew our special relationship for our generation and our times." He urged the longtime allies to "seize this moment" and confront recession, climate change, and Iran 's nuclear ambitions. The address came a day after Brown met with President Barack Obama in the White House and the two leaders pledged to cooperate in drafting new regulations for the global financial system. Members of Congress responded with loud applause when Brown stated, "There is no old Europe , no new Europe ; there is only your friend Europe ."
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Brown to engage Obama on global scale
1 March 2009 - Financial Times, James Blitz
For weeks now, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been pushing for European solidarity and international cooperation in order to address the global financial crisis. On Monday, Brown will take his these sentiments to the White House. As the leader of the nation hosting the G20 summit next month, Brown has been actively campaigning for the collaborative preparation necessary to achieve concrete success at next month's meeting of twenty of the worlds leading economies. While nearly all major European leaders have engaged in formal and informal dialogue in preparation for the G20 summit, Brown worries that the US has been focusing its efforts on primarily domestic issues. Brown hopes that the meeting on Monday will provide assurances that the US is committed to "greater international regulation and reform of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund." On Monday, Obama and Brown are also expected to address the situation in Afghanistan. The UK is already the second largest contributor of combat troops to the military effort but the US is expected to reiterate the "need to deploy additional resources to bolster the civilian reconstruction of Afghanistan... Mr. Brown's meeting with Mr. Obama tomorrow will be followed by an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday."
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EU Parliament calls for closer EU- US strategic partnership
25 February 2009 - European Parliament Press Release
On Tuesday, the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a report calling for strengthening ties between the US and the EU. Members of the EU Parliament agreed that the previous transatlantic agenda must be replaced by a "new transatlantic partnership, based on a new institutional architecture." The committee report advocates the creation of a "Transatlantic Political Council." This new diplomatic body would act as a forum for scheduled consultation on issues such as foreign policy and mutual security concerns between high ranking representatives from both sides of the Atlantic. The Transatlantic Political Council "would be chaired by the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission on the EU side and by the Secretary of State on the US side, and would meet at least every three months." The second proposed institution is the creation of a ‘joint parliamentary committee' to replace the current Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue. MEPs argue that this new committee would be comprised of "Members of the European Parliament and the US Congress, and should meet twice yearly. The joint parliamentary committee should be able to make proposals to the Economic and Political Councils and to the EU-US summits." The report also emphasized the importance of lifting barriers that have hindered the effectiveness of the Transatlantic Economic Council since its inception.
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EU urged to boost profile in ex-Soviet republics
23 February 2009 - MSNBC, Robert Wielaard
In a bid to counter Russian influence in ex-Soviet republics, EU foreign ministers are considering a number of options to strengthen ties with the Eastern European states. These moves come in the wake of Russia 's war against Georgia last summer and the recent cutoff of Russian gas to the European Union. Five of the countries that the EU is courting - Armenia , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Moldova , and Ukraine - welcome the moves from Brussels , but the leadership in Belarus , which maintains close ties with Moscow , has been less receptive. The launching of the "eastern partnership" with all six countries is set for May 7, but plans may have to move ahead without Belarus . While the plan does not promise EU membership, it will provide each of the eastern states with EU money, expertise, goodwill, visas and economic outreach in return for progress toward democracy, the rule of law, sound economics, and human rights.
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The Czech EU presidency to participate in the Transatlantic Strategy Forum
19 February 2009 - The office of the Czech Deputy Prime Minister for EU Affairs
The Transatlantic Strategy Forum (TSF) was launched on Wednesday in Brussels with the support and participation from Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra and members of the European Council. The TSF is designed bring together politicians, business leaders and academics for dialogue and discussion on subjects that constitute mutual interest and merit close cooperation between the US and the EU. On the first TSF agenda is the construction of a report that is expected to be submitted in time for review by the Swedish presidency of the EU Council, which will succeed the current six month Czech presidency. This report will likely address "key issue areas including security, economic and financial policies, energy and the environment, demography and immigration and global governance."
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Czech Lower House Approves Lisbon Treaty
18 February 2009 - ITH.com
In a sign of guarded progress, the lower chamber of the Czech parliament approved the litigious Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday. Proponents maintain that a comprehensive adoption of the treaty would streamline the EU decision-making process, strengthening the practical and diplomatic capabilities of the 27 member-state institution. The Czech acceptance of the Lisbon Treaty still requires approval from the upper chamber of parliament before it is put before the historically skeptical Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, for final endorsement. The Czech-Lisbon Treaty approval process has been under particular scrutiny as the Czech Republic currently holds the EU presidency and is the final EU country to vote on the future of the agreement.
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Minister for Foreign Affairs meets Czech Deputy Prime Minister Vondra
15 February 2009 - Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Press Release
On Sunday, Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of the Czech Republic met with Micheál Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. The future of the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland was one of the most pertinent subjects of discussion during their meeting. In December, the European Council reached a preliminary agreement to meet Irish concerns that have stalled public concurrence on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. "These include the right of each Member State to nominate a Commissioner and guarantees of Ireland 's right to take its own decisions and make its own laws in relation to taxation, defence and certain provisions of our Constitution on the right to life, education and family. The European Council also agreed to confirm the high importance the EU attaches to issues including workers' rights and social services." Acting as a representative of the Czech-EU presidency, Vondra renewed the European commitment to "give legal form to a package of decisions taken by the European Council in December." Proponents hope that efforts to finalize the legal details of the agreement will be completed by the end of the summer, allowing for another round of Irish national elections to commence before the current Commission's term runs out in October 2009.
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U.K. Ambassador Outlines Problems Facing U.S. and Europe
16 February 2009 - UVA Today
Speaking at the University of Virginia , the British ambassador to the United States told a stand-room-only crown that U.S. leadership is essential for the world to battle climate change. Sir Nigel Sheinwald called climate change a security threat and said that there is a "clear need to move urgently to lower carbon dioxide emissions." The ambassador said that India and China must be included on any equitable international treaty, but "Obama needs to lead the debate." Later in his remarks, Sheinwald called for greater transatlantic cooperation on security issues, Afghanistan , and on Arab-Israeli issues. In responding to audience questions, the ambassador explained that European foreign policy puts a premium on alliances, multilateral discussions, and consultations
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Obama gets nudge from Czechs for April visit
16 February 2007 - Steven Erlanger, IHT
Officials in the Czech Republic, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, are urging President Barack Obama to visit Prague during his first European tour in April. Obama is scheduled to visit London for the G20 Summit on April 2, followed by two days in France and Germany for a NATO Summit. Ministers in Prague want the American President to end his European visit with an EU-US summit in Prague rather than in Brussels . The Czech ambassador to Washington said that a meeting in the Czech capital would "be a message ... that the United States also takes care of smaller and medium-sized countries."
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Finnish Minister reiterates the imporantace of EU-US initiative
13 February 2009 -Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland
At an information event for financial reporters on 11 February, Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Paavo Väyrynen scolded financial reporters for their disinterest in his EU-US partnership initiative. In a press release in January, Väyrynen describes the proposed partnership: "The initiative on transatlantic development partnership aims at more effective collaboration between the EU and the USA for the eradication of poverty and for promoting sustainable development. In global negotiations on development, trade and the environment, the two partners would help the poorest developing countries to reach outcomes that would be in their best interests. This partnership would promote socially, economically and ecologically sustainable development throughout the world." Discouraged that his initiative to deepen development policy cooperation between the European Union and the United States, has received so little media coverage, Väyrynen again urged members of the press to recognize the seriousness of the international financial environment and to devote appropriate coverage to this issue.
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Hagel New Atlantic Council Chairman
11 February 2009 - PRNewswire
Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will replace General James L. Jones as Chairman of the Atlantic Council. In the two years that Jones was Chairman, staff and operating revenue doubled in size, a New York office was established, and numerous new programs were established. Jones joined Brent Scowcroft and other in praising the selection of Hagel as Chairman. Hagel welcomed the opportunity, saying, "Transatlantic cooperation has never been more essential. The Atlantic Council has built up considerable momentum, and I want to build upon that important work."
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Sweden : Common transatlantic view on development policy
11 February 2009 - ISRIA
Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, was in Washington recently to present a report on the increased consensus between the US and Europe on development policy matters. This is the first time that such a thorough transatlantic initiative has been undertaken on development policy. Twenty four people from nine different countries with backgrounds in politics, research, civil society and the business world worked for the last year on the report. The taskforce highlights the importance of increased partnership between the US and Europe on eradicating poverty and going beyond develop assistance to areas such as security, diplomacy, climate, and the environment.
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German Approval of Lisbon Treaty Lawful, Court Told
10 February 2009 - Bloomberg.com - Karin Matussek
On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pronounced to the Federal Constitutional Court that the German Parliament "acted lawfully" when it approved the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. As Germany 's highest authority involving constitutional matters, the Federal Constitutional Court is currently considering claims that the country's approval of the treaty conflicts with the German Constitution. During the hearing, Steinmeier went on to argue, "No EU member state, including Germany, can defend its interest on its own, given the challenges we're facing." Germany 's Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble joined the Foreign Minister in support of the treaty claiming that ratification does not "deprive the German parliament of "all meaningful powers. The new framework will increase democratic control of EU institutions." Steinmeier and Schaeuble join many European leaders who contend that a comprehensive adoption of the Lisbon Treaty would streamline EU decision making, allowing the EU to forge more complete and cooperative arrangements with allied international actors.
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Miliband on renewing the transatlantic alliance
07 February 2009 - British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commenting at the Munich Security Conference, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband contended that the possibility for developing a strong system of multilateralism depends on the universal recognition that "unless countries can work together we will be powerless to respond to the great challenges of our time." Miliband went on to state the importance of equal EU-US burden-sharing in the pursuit of "re-energis[ing] multilateralism for the 21st century." Reiterating Angela Merkel's comments from the weekend, the British Foreign Secretary urged leaders to "sweep away the obstacles to genuine NATO/EU partnership."
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All eyes on Biden at the Munich Security Conference
07 February 2009 - Bloomberg - James G. Neuger
In the keynote address of the Munich Security Conference, US Vice President Joe Biden "pledged a 'new tone' in US" foreign policy. The shift described by Biden on Saturday offered a renewed US commitment to multilateral policies and practices. In return, the Vice President strongly urged European allies to "shoulder heavier burdens in fighting threats from terrorism to economic instability." Commenting on collective security, Biden suggested that the responsibility to maintain security should be collective and shared as well. The former head of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, Biden pointed to "plans by France to rejoin the NATO permanent military command" as an encouraging step toward the comprehensive US-EU partnership required to combat the multiplicity of global threats currently facing the Alliance. Biden went on to assure the new administration's commitment to international alliances and organizations, "they help us advance our collective security, economic interests and values." European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso followed Biden's promise to discontinue US unilateralism by calling for a more effective multilateralism to address the global security threats. Barroso contended, "To meet today's global security threats, the European Security Strategy calls for a more effective multilateralism as the only way forward."
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Steinmeier, Clinton and EU/U.S. Foreign Policy
06 February 2009 - thetrumpet.com - Ron Fraser
Frank-Walter Steinmeir, German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor, appears intent on putting Germany at the forefront of the new US administration. The German Foreign Minister's persistence was rewarded on Friday by a 'working lunch' and a shared press conference with Secretary Clinton. Although strengthening US-German relations is surely his priority, upcoming national elections in Germany may also be prompting Steinmeir's recent flurry of transatlantic diplomatic activity. Some political experts observe the waning of Chancellor Merkel's public support, due to the economic crisis, as a fortuitous opening for Steinmeir and others aspiring to attain Germany's highest political office. Personal ambition aside, both Steinmeir and Secretary of State Clinton are highly aware that the timing of new US administration represents an opportunity to mend diplomatic bridges that were scorched, if not burned, during the previous 8 years. Germany 's strong economic and military foundations offer the capacity, if not yet the will, to assist the US in the ongoing Afghan campaign. The US is also concerned about increasingly robust ties between Germany and the recently volatile Russian Federation . The German camp seeks to "take advantage of the new U.S. administration to gain across-the-board support for the development of a new transatlantic agenda," which Europeans hope will be marked by greater balance between the US and the EU.
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US, France Pledge to Continue Transatlantic Alliance
06 February 2009 - NewsBlaze.com - Alan Gray,
Following a Friday meeting between French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and US Secretary of State Clinton, the two conducted a joint press conference in Washington DC . Both diplomats reaffirmed that the US-French relationship is a staple of the transatlantic "alliance...rooted in common values." Clinton made it clear that the US and France would continue coordinated efforts to address shared international interests such as: recent hostilities in Gaza, the NATO campaign in Afghanistan, the process to close the Guantanamo detention center, as well as a number of additional concerns.
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Luxembourg 's Foreign Minister Speaks on the Future of Europe
4 February 2009 - Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, spoke to a crowd at the London School of Economics about how the European Union can provide solutions to today's global challenges. His remarks centered on three areas: the economy; the environment and the challenge of climate change; Europe's dual role of defending peace, liberty, human rights and respect of the rule of law and of stabilizing conflicts and mediating between opposing parties. The European Union began as a peace project, Asselborn said, and has led to the creation of a network of mutual interdependence and influence. The Foreign Minister went on to outline ways the EU can improve itself and exert its influence on the world stage, including the renewal of trans-Atlantic relations, the review of relations with Russia, and institutional reform.
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Hillary Clinton lauds 'special relationship' during me

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