A few quick showers moved through the Washington, D.C., area on the morning of April 30, 2007, but they wouldn't stay long. By the time a smiling Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, joined President Bush and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal in the Rose Garden at the White House, temperatures were beginning to climb on what would become a beautiful, warm spring day in the nation's capital. The leaders were there for a press conference at which they would announce the results of the recent U.S.-EU Summit. While the flags of the United States, Germany, and the European Union fluttered in the warm breeze behind them, the trio of leaders gazed at the assembled press corps. At 1:18 p.m., President Bush addressed the gathering.
"Thank you all, please be seated," President Bush began. "Welcome to the Rose Garden. I want to welcome Angela Merkel and Jos Barroso here. Thank you all for your friendship, thank you for what has been a serious set of discussions," the president said in his characteristic drawl.
Without further preface, he then described the outcome of recent U.S.-EU negotiations.
"I told the chancellor and the president that the EU-U.S. relations are very important to our country," the president continued, "that not only is it important for us to strategize how to promote prosperity and peace, but it's important for us to achieve concrete results. And we have done so. I thank the chancellor and Jos very much for the trans-Atlantic economic integration plan that the three of us signed today. It is a statement of the importance of trade. It is a commitment to eliminating barriers to trade. It is a recognition that the closer that the United States and the EU become, the better off our people become. So this is a substantial agreement and I appreciate it."
With that, the president announced a wide-ranging agreement that committed the United States of America to a path that would see the nation shed its long-cherished independence in favor of integration with the European Union. As described by the White House itself, the U.S.-EU summit:
* "Adopted a framework on transatlantic economic integration which lays a long-term foundation for building a stronger and more integrated transatlantic economy, in particular by fostering cooperation to reduce regulatory burdens and accelerating work on key 'lighthouse projects' in the areas of intellectual property rights, secure trade, investment, financial markets, and innovation."
* "Adopted a declaration on political and security issues," including the seemingly mutually exclusive goals of combatting terrorism and working "towards visa-free travel for all EU and U.S. citizens by creating conditions by which the Visa Waiver Program may be expanded."
* "Adopted a joint statement on energy security and climate change" that commits the United States to working collectively with the EU to ensure "secure, affordable, and clean supplies of energy and tackling climate change."
What seems like a revolutionary step toward transatlantic merger was little remarked in the press. The entire event seems to have occurred in a vacuum. There was little or no coverage of possible discussion of transatlantic integration in the years before the summit and, over the past year, there has likewise been little or no coverage of subsequent developments. It seems almost as if the agreement hammered out between the White House and the European Union was a freak occurrence, a political accident of nature. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.
In fact, quietly and behind the scenes, a very active if unofficial and non-governmental effort has been underway to grease the skids for transatlantic merger. The effort has been led by a little-known non-governmental organization (NGO) that …