Editor’s Note:  As the European Union and the United States launch negotiations on The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,  European Affairs inaugurates a series of occasional articles that will chart the progress and assess the implications of this historic initiative.

 The interaction between the European unification process towards “an ever closer Union”2  and its most important partner, the “more perfect Union”3  of the United States of America, has been among the top foreign policy issues since the early days of the European project. bod.burghardt Equally, helping shape the evolving EU/US relationship has been at the top of my own professional agenda for more than four decades, during which I worked as a close collaborator of European Commission President Jacques Delors, as Director General in charge of External Relations and Political Director for the European Commission, with a stint as the EU Ambassador and Head of the Commission Delegation in the United States from 2000 to 2005.  The following are a few thoughts, taken from the background of my personal recollections and practical experience.

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michaelwhiteTo say that David Cameron's big speech on Europe has been jinxed since its inception may be the understatement of the year so far.

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michaelwhiteOnly six weeks to go, thank goodness. Foreigners don't have a vote in US presidential elections, although some behave as if they do and most non-Americans know that the outcome will affect their own lives one way or another. We care, and we also enjoy a good political horse race when we see one.

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garretmartinOn 11 February 2010, the European Parliament – with 378 MEPs against and only 196 for – struck down the interim Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications [SWIFT] agreement already negotiated between the EU and the U.S. on the transfer of citizens' financial data to prevent terrorist attacks.

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The EU has made more headlines in the American media this year than perhaps at any time in its history.   With markets and governments jittery about the future of the EU single currency, the euro, there has been a flurry of EU summits peppered with seemingly endless talks on bailout terms and treaty changes. And the future of the EU has been in play.

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