US-EU relations - a new page or a new script?

13 January 2010

William E. Kennard, US Ambassador to the EU, said the US has entered a new era of global engagement and multilateral diplomacy. As many of the US President’s top priorities are in “meaningful alignment” with the European Union, the EU and the US must seize this “unique moment” to reframe and reinvigorate transatlantic relations. Governments also need to show their citizens that improving multilateral relations brings broader benefits: confronting terrorism more effectively, boosting the financial recovery and creating jobs.

Economic issues: a major priority is to recover from the financial recession by strengthening EU-US economic links, and reducing trade and investment barriers. The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) can help to make this possible, while the G20 Summits are institutionalising a new form of global financial cooperation.

Climate Change: Ambassador Kennard said although the Copenhagen Climate meeting did not achieve its desired ends, major economies have committed themselves to reducing greenhouse gases, reporting emissions and committing funds to help developing countries. Governments must use this momentum to get legally binding agreements on emissions’ reductions.

While neither the US Congress nor the Senate has agreed on legislation to cut emissions, many cities and states are taking their own measures, and the government is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, encourage renewable energy and develop clean technology.

International Affairs: in the Middle East, US Special Envoy George Mitchell is working to get the Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations, while also stressing that donors must continue to support Palestinians, so that when there are two parallel states, the Palestinian authority will have the necessary structures to govern effectively.

Nuclear non-proliferation: President Obama wants a diplomatic solution for Iran and has offered a “new era of engagement”, but these offers are “not available for ever”. The US is looking for EU support in resolving the situation, as well as working with the UN Security Council.

Afghanistan: President Obama has committed 30,000 more troops and has been heartened by the EU response to the new US strategic direction, but as well as military support, more efforts are needed for civilian reconstruction and to encourage growth.

With the election of Barack Obama there has never been a better time to reinvigorate the transatlantic partnership, and Washington welcomes the Lisbon Treaty that will help create a stronger, integrated Europe.

Video Clip with William E. Kennard, U.S. Ambassador to the EU (published by the U.S. Mission to the EU).