A Strengthened EU, A Strengthened Partner for America

By Delahunt, Bill | Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

A Strengthened EU, A Strengthened Partner for America


Delahunt, Bill, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly


It's with a deep sense of responsibility that I conduct my first hearing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe -- as I agree with the observation of Secretary Clinton who noted that "Europe is our essential partner."

And the subject of today's hearing - the Treaty of Lisbon would appear to signal a substantial change in the infrastructure of the EU. And it behooves us to be especially aware of the potential implications for that partnership as there is no other relationship closer or more significant for the US. And for Europe.

The economic data is empirical proof of that premise. According to the Delegation of the EU to the US, transatlantic flows of trade and investment amount to around $1 Billion a day. Together, our global trade accounts for 40% of world trade and 50% of global GDP. Furthermore, it is also my own belief that this partnership is a predicate for political and economic stability and the expansion of democratic values globally.

The evolution of a European entity has been dramatic in an historical context, since Robert Schuman's famous speech in 1951 proposing that France and Germany pool their coal and steel resources in a new organization that other European countries could join. I won't take this time to review the history that led to the treaty of Lisbon. But I believe that as the evolution and growth of the EU proceeded over time, our partnership with the EU became ever more critical and will continue to do so. And as the President recently stated, in response to the final approval of the Treaty "a strengthened and renewed EU will be an even better transatlantic partner with the US."

Some experts suggest that the passage of the Lisbon Treaty will have positive implications for US EU relations; in part due to the creation of new posts, such as the European Council President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs, along with an increased role for the European Parliament. Combined with more authority in specific policy areas, these changes will provide the EU with a more coherent voice. Given our shared vision for democracy, human rights, and global security, these new allocations of power within the EU system could offer the US a more active and assertive overseas partner in addressing our shared challenges and in promoting our common causes.

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