United States–European Union relations
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Relations between the European Union and the United States are the bilateral relations between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA). Due to the EU not having a fully integrated foreign policy, relations can be more complicated where the EU does not have a common agreed position e.g. EU foreign policy was divided during the Iraq War.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2010)|
The European Union and the United States have held diplomatic relations since 1953. The relationship between the EU and the US is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. They are the biggest economic and military powers in the world (even if the EU does not yet have a common defense policy), they dominate global trade, they play the leading roles in international political relations, and what one says matters a great deal not only to the other, but to much of the rest of the world. And yet they have regularly disagreed with each other on a wide range of specific issues, as well as having often quite different political, economic, and social agendas. Understanding the relationship today means reviewing developments that predate the creation of the European Economic Community (precursor to today's European Union).
Key events in the evolving history of the relationship include the following:
- Truman Doctrine, which saw US becoming militarily involved in Europe not soon after withdrawing.
- Marshall Plan, which provided billions of dollars in aid for the reconstruction of European economies.
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which provided western Europe with a security guarantee in the face of Soviet threats.
- 1949 Berlin crisis, which marked true beginning of the cold war.
- Korean War, during which Americans and Europeans differed on strategy.
- McCarthyism, which raised alarms in Europe about levels of American anti-communism.
- The 1954 French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, which precipitated a tumultuous French withdrawal from colonial Empire, and resentment at US failure to help.
- The 1956 Suez crisis, in which perceived US betrayal of European allies caused considerable resentment, and led to British withdrawal from colonial Empire.
- 1957 Treaty of Rome, which created European Economic Community.
- Berlin wall
- The 1962 Cuban missile crisis, which alarmed western Europeans not only because it took the world to the brink of nuclear war, but also because they were not fully appraised by the Kennedy administration.
- 1966 French withdrawal from military structure of NATO, emphasizing French distrust of US foreign policy and international influence.
- The Vietnam war, opposed by political and public opinion in western Europe, and which generated resentment in the US because of the lack of European support.
- End of the Bretton Woods system 1971, brought about by the Nixon administration without reference to western European leaders.
- Ostpolitik, which alarmed US because of West German outreach to East Germany.
- 1973 Yom Kippur War, which created serious rift between Americans and Europeans.
- 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
- 1980 Moscow Olympics, the boycott of which won little European support.
- 1990-91 Gulf war, which found the western Europeans deeply divided in the face of American military and political leadership.
- 1991 outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars, which found the Europeans again divided, and unprepared to present a unified policy.
- 2003 invasion of Iraq, which brought US-EU divisions out into the open.
Euro-American relations are primarily concerned with trade policy. The EU is a near-fully unified trade bloc and this, together with competition policy, are the primary matters of substance currently between the EU and the USA. The two together represent 60% of global GDP, 33% of world trade in goods and 42% of world trade in services. The growth of the EU's economic power has led to a number of trade conflicts between the two powers; although both are dependent upon the other's economic market and disputes affect only 2% of trade. See below for details of trade flows;
|Direction of trade||Goods||Services||Investment||Total|
|EU to US||€260 billion||€139.0 billion||€112.6 billion||€511.6 billion|
|US to EU||€127.9 billion||€180 billion||€144.5 billion||€452.4 billion|
In 2007, a Transatlantic Economic Council was established to direct economic cooperation between the two, it is headed by the US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs and the EU's Commissioner for Trade. However it is yet to produce solid results. A Transatlantic Free Trade Area has been proposed in the 1990s and later in 2006 by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in reaction to the collapse of the Doha world trade talks. However, protectionism on both sides may be a barrier to any future agreement.
Annual Summits are held between EU and US policy makers. When these take place in Europe, they have historically taken place in the country that holds the rotating Presidency of the European Union.
List of EU-US Summits:
- April 25, 2010 Washington, DC (High Level Consultative Group on Development Meeting)
- May 24–25, 2010,Madrid, Spain
- November 3–4, 2009,Washington, DC
- April 5, 2009 Prague, Czech Republic, (Informal Summit)
- 2008 – Ljubljana
- 2007 – Washington
- 2006 – Vienna
- 2005 – Washington
- 2004 – Shannon
- 2003 – Washington
- 2002 – Washington
- 2001 – Göteborg
- 2000 – Queluz
- 1999 – Washington
- 1998 – Washington
- 1998 – London
- 1997 – Washington DC
- December 3, 1995 Madrid, Spain,
Arms embargo on the People's Republic of China
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Both the United States and the European Union as of 2005[update] have an arms embargo against China (PRC), put in place in 1989 after the events of Tiananmen Square. The U.S. and some EU members continue to support the ban but others, spearheaded by France, have been attempting to persuade the EU to lift the ban, arguing that more effective measures can be imposed, but also to improve trade relations between China and certain EU states. The U.S. strongly opposes this, and after the PRC passed an anti-secession law against Taiwan the likelihood of the ban being lifted diminished somewhat.
Boeing and Airbus subsidies
The two companies are the major competing aircraft manufacturers, and both Boeing and Airbus are accused of receiving forms of subsidy from the United States and from some of the European Union member states respectively, which both sides have criticised each other for doing. The pressure for this issue to be resolved has increased as Airbus and Boeing are now nearly equal in commercial aircraft market share.
In March 2010 EADS and its US partner pulled out of a contract to build air refuelling planes worth $35bn. They had previously won the bid but it was rerun and EADS claimed the new process was biased towards Boeing. The European Commission said it would be "highly regrettable" if the tendering process did prove to be biased. There was substantial opposition to EADS in Washington due to the ongoing Boeing-Airbus (owned by EADS) dispute.
Genetically modified food
Genetically modified food is another significant area of disagreement between the two. The EU has been under domestic pressure to restrict the growth and import of genetically modified foods until their safety is proven to the satisfaction of the populace. The US on the other hand is under pressure from its agricultural businesses to force the EU to accept imports, seeing the EU's restrictions as alarmist and protectionist.
The Washington Post claimed on November 2, 2005 that the USA has several secret jails in Eastern Europe (also called black sites). Poland and Romania however have denied these allegations. Also, Central Intelligence Agency planes carrying terror suspects would have made secret stopovers in several West European countries since 2001. Belgium, Iceland, Spain, and Sweden have launched investigations. The Guardian calculated on November 30 that U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planes landed about 300 times on European air ports. Most planes would have landed in Germany and the United Kingdom as a transit point to East Europe, North Africa (possibly Morocco and Egypt), or the Middle East (possibly Syria and Jordan). In the meanwhile, the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, asked the US for a clarification. The EU has refused to confirm or deny the reports.
Extraordinary rendition flights through Europe were investigated over a number of years by the European Parliament and it held a temporary committee on the matter. The EU has also opposed the use of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and offered to host some former inmates when its closure was announced by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.
In the United States, capital punishment is a legal form of punishment, whereas all European member states have fully abolished the death penalty, and consider its use to be a violation of fundamental human rights. This occasionally causes problems with EU-US relations, because it is illegal in the EU to allow the extradition of a citizen to a country where the death penalty is a legal punishment, unless a guarantee is given that such punishment will not be used.
International Criminal Court
Positions in the United States concerning the ICC vary widely. The Clinton Administration signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but did not submit it for Senate ratification. The Bush Administration, the US administration at the time of the ICC's founding, stated that it would not join the ICC. The Obama Administration has subsequently re-established a working relationship with the court.
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In the Arab-Israeli conflict, both sides of the Atlantic usually act more or less in tandem, in regard to the approach to the Palestinian territories as well as other issues (such as the recent conflict in Lebanon). However, in general, the European Union is often more critical of Israel, particularly in issues of policy (such as the West Bank barrier), and has criticized Israeli military actions that the U.S. has supported. The U.S. has historically been a much more supportive ally, going so far as to even use its veto at the United Nations Security Council in Israel's support.
Iran's nuclear program
The United States has not ruled out the use of force against Iran regarding the Iranian nuclear program. France, Germany and the United Kingdom have taken the lead to solve the issue diplomatically, while representing the interests of the United States in negotiations with Iran since the United States has had no official diplomatic relations with the country since 1979. Former UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, described military action against Iran as "inconceivable".
The Iraq War not only divided opinions within European nations and within the U.S., but between European nations themselves, with some states supporting of military action, and some against. The European public opinion was staunchly opposed to the war. This caused a major transatlantic rift, especially between the states led by France and Germany on the one hand, who were against military action, and the United States with United Kingdom and Poland, among others.
The European Union is one of the main backers of the Kyoto protocol, which aims to combat global warming. The United States which initially signed the protocol at its creation during the Clinton Administration, never had the measure ratified by the United States Senate, an essential requirement to give the protocol the force of law in the United States. Later, in March 2001, under President George W. Bush, the United States removed its signature from the protocol, leading to much acrimony between the United States and European nations. Recently, President Barack Obama, however, said that he planned on re-signing the protocol at a conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, where the protocol will be renewed and its measures extended.
Visa waiver reciprocity
The EU is requesting from the US reciprocity regarding the visa waiver program for all its members. The European Union has threatened with the possibility of imposing visas for American citizens that would extend to the entire EU. In 2008, many of the EU's new Central European members were granted visa-free access to the US, and currently, only four EU members (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania) lack such access.
The EU and US had a long running dispute over the EU's banana imports. As part of their international aid, the EU offered tenders on a first-come-first-served basis for bananas from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The US argued that this favoured local producers in former colonies of EU member-states, over US-owned corporations in Latin America. The Clinton administration responded by imposing heavy tariffs on luxury goods created in the EU. Such goods included cashmere from Scotland and French Cognac brandy, made in the original constituency of then Prime Minister of France Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The Clinton administration then took the banana wars to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1999, when Chiquita made a $500 000 donation to the Democratic Party. The two sides reached an agreement in 2001.
U.S. steel tariffs
In 2002, the U.S. imposed steel tariffs to protect its steel industry. The European Union and other countries took up the issue with the WTO, which ruled that such tariffs breach its regulations. Subsequently, by December 2003, the tariffs had been lifted by the U.S. administration.
The US ambassador to the EU is William Kennard. The US was the first third-country to recognise the EU's earliest forerunner, the European Coal and Steel Community, and first appointed an observer in 1953: David E. Bruce. Their first mission opened in 1956.
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