Europe’s “diplomatic service” is getting off to a slow start, with some initial deadlines already bound to be overrun. The practical difficulties of setting up the “External Action Service” (EAS) are turning out to be more considerable than planners apparently imagined, and many officials are now saying, as suggested here in European Affairs late last year, it may take the lifetime of a European Commission or even two for the new arm of EU collective diplomacy to show its muscle.
On March 17, 2010, The European Institute held a special breakfast meeting of its Transatlantic Roundtable on Transportation regarding transatlantic cooperation on transportation security. A delegation from the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, including Chairman The Honorable Brian Simpson (S & D Party, UK), The Honorable Mathieu Grosch (European People’s Party, Belgium), The Honorable Saïd El Khadraoui (S & D Party, Belgium), and The Honorable Gesine Meissner (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Germany) spoke about their visit to Washington and current civil aviation security issues in the European Union. Michael Scardaville, Director for European and Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provided a U.S. perspective on these pressing security matters. The main topics of discussion were the second U.S.-EU civil aviation agreement (Open Skies II), the U.S.-EU passenger name records agreement, privacy and human rights issues with the implementation of full body scanner in airports, the overall approach to civil aviation security, the increasing importance of high speed rail in the U.S., and the importance of the U.S. and EU to coordinate policies and procedures to ensure security on both sides of the Atlantic. A high emphasis was placed on increasing dialogue between the U.S. and EU on unresolved issues of contention. Passenger privacy and the protection of data are especially big concerns for Europe, and the U.S. and EU will continue to work together to try to find a holistic approach to providing security.
On March 9, 2010 The European Institute held a special meeting of its Roundtable on Defense and Security with Gábor Iklódy, State Secretary and Political Director of the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Iklódy offered his perspective on the changes to EU foreign and defense policy after the Lisbon Treaty. He addressed the need for coordination in developing EU defense capabilities in order to perform the Petersberg tasks. And while highlighting the importance of an EU that can speak with one voice on the global stage, he also stressed that member states still need to be consulted as part of the decision making process, otherwise Europe risks becoming fragmented once again. And although the transition to the new foreign policy architecture, that is defining the role of the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service as well as the future role of the rotating presidency, will be long and difficult, once the dust settles, the wait will have been worth it.
As the “Great Recession” recedes, the aftershocks of public anger are exploding with a political passion not seen since the Great Depression.. In this tumult, knives are out for the two leading central banks – the U.S. Federal Reserve (the Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB), the agencies responsible for monetary policies underpinning the world’s most important economies and markets.
Holding the EU’s rotating presidency for the first six months this year, Spain has laid out an agenda that highlights two themes: implementing the Lisbon agenda and helping Europe emerge from the economic crisis.
Spanish ambitions in the EU realm, however, are likely to be strongly colored and perhaps even skewed by the national challenges of reassuring its partners in the euro zone and world markets that Madrid can regain control of its worsening budget gap.
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