ONE YEAR of OBAMA, HAVE TRANSATLANTIC DIFFERENCES NARROWED?
     
The seminar, organised by FRIDE, CEPS and the Heinrich Boll Foundation, focussed on four thematic areas:
  • changing positions towards multilateralism, including in relation to the financial crisis

  • policies on climate change, especially in light of the December 2009 Copenhagen summit

  • security challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan

  • Middle East policy

In each area the presentations and debates by academic experts and policy makers from Europe and the US explored a series of core topics on state of relation around the following questions:

  • have differences between the EU and US narrowed during 2009

  • is cooperation more effective

  • where do transatlantic differences remain, or indeed threaten to become morer rasther than less notable

  • what are the policy implications

The think tanks teamed up for a stock take of transatlantic relations after the first year of the Obama administration:

Global Governance and Multilateralism, Climate Change post Copenhagen, Keynote speaker Reinhard Buetikofer, Security I Afghanistan and Pakistan and Security II The Middle East

Main challenges for the coming years climate change, global governance, security AFPAK and the Middle East. However, it was said that Europe was absent in Washington DC. All the challenges should become part of European policy.

First global governance. The US took some risky bets and a change in foreign relations to turn to China, Russia and India. Another kind of diplomacy, aiming american powers more in the center of the international system. The UN remains a difficult mechanism. The best change for Europe would be that the UK and France will give their chair to the EU, but that will take a long time.
It is up to Europe to become more operational. A much more united Europe, a real partner with real contribution. What is it what Europe want to achieve with neigbhourhood policy does Europe want it or not. And Turkey, do Europe want it, are we ready or not.

How to give body to the partnership. Institutionally more possibilities to approach power and to reach the US. It is a matter of principle, of interest. Although Europe is special, being special does not help.

Have transAtlantic differences narrowed?
On climate change there were complete different perceptions of things that happened. (after the failure of Copenhagen or after Copenhagen). Forget the politics, or we could never reach an agreement. Europe played a central role. The intentions may not derail. Could a new kind of treaty be of help and a new mechanism. An accent more on green economy inn stead of 20 till 30% less CO2. European leadership on this has to go to the US.

The UN has lost in Copenhagen. Leadershp shifted to G2, G8/7, G20, ....the US denied power to themselves. But there is an opening. Adapt prfograms such as energy efficiency. The new commissioner has to play a role and to do suggestions to cooperate in teams on carbon markets, business, emission trading and a puiblic relation debate.
There is support on the issues on both sides of the atlantic.

---

There is a dialogue between MEP´s and congressmen in order not to undermine issues.

Did differences narrowed? Obviously yes and on other issues (financial economic relations) no. The more distance the more optimism and the closer the more cautious optimism. Remember promises of the US and the results. In Europe there are now not many sounds.
It is also on substance.

Panelists from
Brookings Institution
Egmont The Royal Institute for International relations
Center for American Progress
ECFR
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

City University London