Europe at the RNC & DNC — Renewed Commitment to EU-US Cooperation

After an exhausting and frenzied two weeks at the Republican and Democratic Conventions, the EU Delegation team is back in Washington recovering. It was two weeks of events, meetings, and observations of a key part of the US political process. In addition to watching the ‘prime time’ sessions of both conventions in the arena, EU officials attended the official diplomatic programs organized by the parties’ international arms and participated in events put together by other organizations on the sidelines of the conventions — not to mention our own panel discussions!

In Cleveland, we put together a series of two interesting panel discussions on security/defense and on global economic issues. The panel on security and defense issues was particularly timely as it came the day after the Republican nominee made some well-publicized comments about the NATO alliance. Most of the EU’s Member States are also NATO members and, at the most recent summit in Warsaw, the EU and NATO signed a joint declaration to further the strategic partnership between the two bodies. The joint declaration outlined opportunities to deepen EU-NATO cooperation on operations at sea, interoperability, cybersecurity, and joint exercises.

David O’Sullivan speaks on a panel organised by the American Jewish Committee

Our Ambassador, David O’Sullivan, articulated a long list of foreign policy challenges where cooperation between the EU and US is essential, from Syria and Ukraine to the South China Sea and Turkey, because, “the world is more dangerous than it has been in many years” and “If we don’t work together life will be more difficult.” The theme of collaboration carried over into the second panel on the economy.

From left to right: Andrew Lewer, Casey Higgins, David O’Sullivan, and Jan Surotchak

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement currently under negotiation between the EU and the US is the most high-profile development to further grow the transatlantic economy. Speakers acknowledged the challenging political climate for trade on both sides of the political spectrum and the Atlantic Ocean. However, Ambassador O’Sullivan also reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to TTIP and the benefits of greater trade saying that, “[C]losing our frontiers off to trade is a downward spiral of economic regression. This is something we in Europe believe in profoundly and must continue to defend.”

From left to right: David O’Sullivan, Gianni Pittella, Esther de Lange, Matt Browne, Julianne Smith, and Jay Newton-Small

Only 6 days later, the transatlantic conversation moved east to one of America’s first capitals, Philadelphia. Panelists addressed questions about the future relationship between the UK and EU, the rise of populism in Europe and the US, and increasing concern with security and terrorism. Julianne Smith, a former Deputy National Security Adviser to Vice President Biden, said that the next Administration would have to “reengage in the European project and the transatlantic relationship” to address these and other global challenges. Ambassador O’Sullivan entreated a future Administration to engage more with European institutions themselves as doing so would provide a great added value for the US vis-à-vis a more ad hoc approach with individual European countries.

Julianne Smith responds to a question from Moderator Matt Browne

Given the historic nature of Democratic Convention, nominating the first woman as a major party candidate for the Presidency, panelists reflected on the possibility that a number of prominent international leaders could be women, including several Europeans — UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and EU HRVP Federica Mogherini (of course!).

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy Federica Mogherini

The one theme that wove through both events and conversations was a continued commitment to the transatlantic relationship and EU-US relations. If you would like to see more from our events in Cleveland and Philadelphia, you can watch them again online at the links below. Keep following the EU Delegation as we continue to the next phase.

Watch the Cleveland event here.

Watch the Philadelphia event here.