You are here

EU Washington Forum 2009: responding to the Obama Agenda

20 November 2009

At the second EU-Washington Forum, held on 19 and 20 November 2009, James Steinberg, US Deputy Secretary of State and Alvaro de Vasconcelos, Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies, urged closer EU-US co-operation in engaging new global players. The Forum made it clear that global problems such as climate change and sustained economic growth require greater political interaction between the West and developing countries outside Europe.  “During the Cold War the allies were reluctant to look beyond Europe”, said Senator Richard Lugar, but “today we have no choice” because the transatlantic alliance is entering a modern era facing complex global challenges. Participants expressed confidence in stronger EU-US co-operation in the future.  There has been a “sea-change in US foreign policy, now radically geared towards ‘effective multilateralism’ with its concomitant emphasis on diplomacy, engagement and long-term policies”, argued Alvaro de Vasconcelos, adding that it is “a welcome ‘Europeanisation’ of American foreign policy”. But other European thinkers maintained that short-term decisiveness in American foreign policy is essential in some areas such as the Israeli-Palestinian question, while their American counterparts urged the European Union to become more proactive in its support for American initiatives.  The annual EU-Washington Forum is organised by the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris in conjunction with the European Commission and the EU Presidency. The 2009 Forum featured interventions by Richard Lugar, James Steinberg, Göran Lenmarker (Chairman of the Swedish Committee on Foreign Affairs), Anne-Marie Slaughter (Director of Policy Planning, Department of State), Stefano Manservisi (Director General, Development, European Commission), Paul Jones (Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan) and Francesc Vendrell, the former EU Special Representative to Afghanistan.