Spotlight: Ambassador of the European Union to the U.S., David O’Sullivan
How does your Embassy work to grow and strengthen international relationships?
EU-US cooperation has two main goals: both to strengthen the transatlantic relationship, and to work together to strengthen international relationships — “to make the world a better place,” to put it simply. You can see this in everything we do together, from our joints efforts to fight climate change to working together to stop Iran’s nuclear proliferation. And this is also the case with our ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations — these trade talks seek to create the largest free trade area in the world, which will ultimately boost the world economy while setting higher labour, consumer and environmental standards and promoting shared values such as human rights.
As Ambassador between the EU and the U.S., what has your greatest accomplishment been and/or what do you most hope to accomplish to strengthen sub-national diplomacy?
I always stress that I am the European Union Ambassador to all of the United States — and that means I get out of Washington at least once a month to visit the various States, meet with governors, mayors, local businesses and talk to people on the ground. Cities play such an enormous and important role in Europe at the sub-national level and I bring that understanding with me to how I approach my work here. Fighting climate change is a perfect illustration of this — before there was much recognition of the problem at the national level here in the United States we saw some States and cities actively working to tackle the problem. And that led to a close cooperation with the European Union as a leader within this field, and to sharing best practices with European cities at the forefront of the “21st century city” agenda.
Have you worked with a sister city program in the past?
No, but as a European with a heart that beats for the European Union it is easy for me to relate to your mission. Just as Sister Cities International came into being following World War II to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation, the European Union rose out of the ashes of war committed to human rights, peace, and shared prosperity. We did so by uniting our people, tearing down borders, and have former enemies move from battlefields into boardrooms. So just as you have seen peace and understanding coming from cities working together, we have witnessed the same with the countries in the European Union.