On September 19, 2011, Claude-France Arnould, the European Defense Agency’s new Chief Executive, addressed the multiple challenges in bolstering the European Union’s defense capabilities and furthering EU-US defense cooperation at a time of severe budgetary restriction.  She focused particularly on the European Union’s Pooling and Sharing Initiative and the need for increased transatlantic cooperation in order to effectively meet common security challenges and improve defense capabilities.

On September 14, 2011, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy shared her insights into NATO’s current agenda and priorities leading up to the NATO Summit to be held in Chicago in the spring of 2012.

The European Institute hosted a meeting on June 2, 2011 with The Honorable Eric Hirschhorn, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. In the ten months since Mr. Hirschhorn last spoke at The European Institute, notable progress has been made in the evolution of the Obama Administration’s Export Control initiative. Given the importance of this initiative for the economic and trade relationship that underpins European-American relations, Under Secretary Hirschhorn offered an update on the continuing evolution of export control reforms, and the prospects and challenges that lie ahead.

(Nov. 22)   The three summit meetings last weekend resulted in what New York gamblers call a “trifecta” of three wins:  the leadership of the NATO alliance set a framework for missile defense in Europe without undermining nuclear deterrence as an ultimate security guaranty; Russia returned to its special partnership with NATO for the first time since the Georgia war in 2008; and the EU fielded an effectively streamlined team (the result of its own Lisbon treaty last year) that has already bolstered the pace of  EU-US cooperation.

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An Obama administration failure to get ratification of the so-called New Start treaty – as now seems probable – will inject damaging tensions into U.S. relations with Germany and other key NATO allies in Europe.

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