The Lisbon Treaty: Implications for Future Relations between the European Union and the United States

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Chairman Delahunt, Ranking Member Gallegly, Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on this important subject. The United States and the European Union form a community of shared values and a partnership of shared interests. We are united by our deep commitment to freedom, security, human rights, the rule of law, and open markets. Our 800 million democratically- governed citizens are bound together by enduring links of culture and commerce, by our shared history and our common hopes for the future. The EU is one of our most crucial partners in addressing regional and global challenges around the world. Our shared priorities cover all the major U.S. foreign policy concerns including: stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan, contending with the Iranian nuclear program, addressing global climate change, pursuing a permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, managing our responses to the global financial crises, enhancing energy security, and promoting the spread of democratic and market reforms to every corner of Europe. The U.S.European economic relationship is one of the central drivers of the world economy. For example, the value of U.S. goods and services exports to the EU is over five times the value of our exports to China, and from 2000 to 2008, over half of total U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) was in Europe. Lastly, it is also worth noting the human dimension of our ties. Our links are not just those of shared values, trade ties, and political traditions, but also the millions of our citizens who travel each year to our countries to work, to study, or simply to visit. In view of all of the many ties that bind the United States and Europe together, the Administration welcomed the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on December 1. We believe that this treaty marks a milestone for Europe and for its role in the world. It creates several new institutions, and strengthens other important ones. These include a new permanent presidency for the European Council, a new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and a new European External Action Service to support the work of the High Representative. There will also be an enhanced role for the European Parliament. The intention behind the establishment of these new positions and strengthened institutions is to guide the further evolution of the European Union toward a more consistent, coherent, and effective foreign policy. Given the importance of the U.S.-EU partnership, we hope that the Lisbon Treaty succeeds in strengthening Europe's role in world affairs. We believe that a strong and cohesive Europe is very much in the U.S. national interest, and we look forward to the development of these institutions and to engaging with their new leaders, incoming President Herman Van Rompuy, and the new High Representative Catherine Ashton, as well as with President Barroso of the European Commission, and the leaders of the European Parliament on the whole host of issues on the U.S.-EU agenda. President Van Rompuy and High Representative Ashton will be building on a strong track record of U.S.-EU cooperation. We consult regularly and cooperate closely with the EU in a variety of vitally important policy areas, including: * Middle East policy, where the EU joins us as a full partner in the Quartet, together with the UN and Russia. * Iran's nuclear program, where the EU is part of the P5+1, the mechanism for international engagement with Iran on the nuclear issue. * Annual U.S.-EU Summits, regular meetings between Secretary Clinton and her EU counterparts, and a series of other meetings led by the State Department. * A deepening economic relationship, including the Transatlantic Economic Council which brings together our economic Cabinet Secretaries and many heads of agency with the EU, at least once a year. The EU is also a critical partner in the G20 as we seek to handle international economic issues and to revive the global economy. …