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Informal General Affairs and External Relations Council 2-3/5/03: Contribution on the issue of EU-USA Relations by Erik Dericke

Transatlantic Relations
by Erik Derycke


The initiative  to discuss post-war rapprochement seems very timely. As I tried to explain in a mail earlier this year, discussion is always better than a stand-still, and in that way you did a good job. Even if the EU went through a deep crisis, there seems to be a potential for a turning point. After a lot of "19 century conference of Vienna action" of the big countries of the EU, there is perhaps hope that they now understand the urgent need for a deeper Union.

-the exercise should be done by 25 and not only by the 15.There is now way back on enlargement, and the sooner the new countries are involved the better for the EU-Transatlantic relationship. The meeting with 25 is a first serious move to show the new countries that we respect them, and that their interest lays in a strong integrated EU.

-the exercise needs a number of preconditions: honesty to ourselves; we should understand that the responsibility of the actual situation is also partly situated in the EU (i.e. the fact we underestimated the consequences of 11/9,and permanently failed to prove our credibility to the U.S.) thoroughness of  the exercise; need for expertise from outside, answer to the US initiative of the Kissinger-Summers taskforce despite everything positivism and positiveness there is to much at stake!

-on short notice, the Council should try to give to President Simitis and yourself a roadmap to launch in-depth dialogue with the US. The US-EU Summit in Washington should be an excellent moment to do so.

-Preliminary points on our agenda as precondition for a serious discussion with the US. are: show EU interest in a meaningfully debate on possible positive and productive action of NATO of some of its members in the Iraq crisis. Enhance the discussion introduced by Belgium together with France and Germany, on deeper defense-cooperation. Sort out if there is a real will between the EU countries to have a serious debate on the UN, and mainly on the points of the veto-right, the EU representation as such and more transfer of power to the secretary-general.

-Strategy to convince the US that we all need the UN. Here we have nothing to lose but everything to win. It is crystal clear that the US sees the UN as a kind of shop and run instrument, vision not without danger for the US on a longer perspective. The US will not always succeed in dividing the world, and is seems unclear of a coalition of willing countries will always be so evident as they perceive it (the problem of legality is peeping around the corner).The role of UN in Iraq is a good platform to gain interest for the UN on both sides.

-finally two other items seem of major importance for both sides. A discussion on international policy and media, and the future of public diplomacy is urgent. In this regard I want to refer to an excellent article of Ernst Sucharipa in The International Spectator (The Netherlands 10/4/2003) Sucharipa is director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

At last I always will come back on the fact that the real outcome is not the political violence. We have the wrong impression that political violence is everywhere. The real outcome is social war. Social problems created by globalization are the most urgent problems. Neither the US or the EU are in a position to hide from these problems and should see this subject as a common point of discussion, in the line of their trade issues.

All this is of course incomplete, but see this as a first honest reaction to a really important subject.
I wish you every possible success and a lot of strength for the remaining period of the Greek presidency.

                 

 


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