Thursday 14 May 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty “threatens the transatlantic relationship”

Ahead of the European elections Sally McNamara’s views on the Lisbon Treaty and the transatlantic relationship are worth reading. From the Heritage Foundation’s blog The Foundry: A Lisbon Treaty Retrospective? (Posted May 13th, 2009 at 11.41am)

After discussing legitimacy and support, we turn to the effects of the Treaty of Lisbon on the transatlantic relationship, according to McNamara:

“The Lisbon Treaty ... It also threatens the transatlantic relationship, and underscores the EU’s ambitions to become a global power and challenge American leadership on the world stage.”


Transatlantic relationship

The transatlantic relationship includes Canada and the United States on the one shore of the Atlantic, and Europe on the eastern shore. Despite economic competition and occasional spats, they form a community of values with broadly similar interests in the world, including international organisations.

In terms of trade and investment, they are firmly linked. The European Union is central in developing transatlantic and global commercial relations.

The financial and economic crisis highlights the need for coordinated solutions, through international institutions and bilaterally. Challenges like energy security become increasingly important, and global warming threatens the whole planet.

The European Union and its North American partners have shared interests in hosts of other policy areas, ranging from global challenges and organisations to daily contacts between citizens.

Common responses to internal and external security challenges are of fundamental importance. The European Union needs to enhance its capability in the fields of foreign, security and defence policy in order to act more coherently in its neighbourhood and to act more decisively in world affairs alongside the USA.

Most of the European Union’s member states are NATO members and the transatlantic defence alliance continues to be important, for the defence of Europe as well as in the wider world.

In its later days, the previous American administration started to mend some of the fences it had broken. The new US administration under President Barack Obama has sought to find common ground and forge stronger ties with the European Union and its member states, including at the April EU─US summit in Prague.

If anything, I reckon that the US government would be relieved to be able to deal with one Europe. In this respect, the Treaty of Lisbon would bring about minor improvements.

McNamara, on the other hand, has learned nothing. She does not see the European Union as a valuable ally, but as a danger. The Lisbon Treaty threatens her exceedingly narrow view of the transatlantic relationship. Hence, a somewhat more coherent Europe would not be a boon for US interests, but the bane of its domination of the world stage, as she sees it.

Still adversarial to the hilt and exaggerating the importance of the Lisbon Treaty beyond belief, the Heritage Foundation seems set on its course to drive a wedge between the United States of America and the European Union.


There are, of course, opponents to the Lisbon Treaty on both sides of the Atlantic. Their motives are seldom expressed as openly as by the Heritage Foundation, but are they less misdirected for that?

Ralf Grahn

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