Following up on the roundtable with Nick Witney, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, this meeting focused on France’s acquisition policy and relations with the EDA. Lt. Gen. Patrick Auroy, Deputy National Armament Director of the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), briefed participants on the French approach to a European Defense Industrial Base and the future of transatlantic cooperation. He outlined the major trends of the industrial policy in Europe, including using more competition and market forces, fostering cooperative programs, and giving visibility and a common reference through the publication of a clear European Defense Technology Industrial Base strategy. He also addressed the need to open the defense market and the challenges created by export controls. An open defense market, he said, will benefit all defense players with new levels of efficiency and economies of scale. Progress is needed on the intra-continental level since export is a major part of the industry. Subsequently, market forces need to be increased in order to have a globally competitive base. The Hon. William Greenwalt, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy offered a U.S. perspective.

This special meeting with Cong. Robert Wexler, Chairman of the Europe Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Members of the Subcommittee, including Congressmen Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Ranking Member; John S. Tanner (D-TN) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), was an occasion for members of The European Institute, including the Ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, to learn more about the Subcommittee’s agenda and potential hearing schedule, as well as to exchange views with the Subcommittee members. The meeting was chaired by Jacqueline Grapin, The European Institute’s Founder and Chairman of the Board. Issues addressed included the Visa Waiver program, Turkey’s accession to the EU, container screening and trade security and improving U.S.-EU relations.

The Hon. László Kovács, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, and Robert Verrue, Director General for Taxation and Customs Union at the European Commission, reviewed current initiatives in supply chain security, the effects on international trade and the prospects for transatlantic cooperation. The bill proposed by the U.S. Congress requiring the scanning of 100% of containers entering U.S. ports became the focus of the discussion. Referring to the technical difficulty of this task, its negative impact on commerce, as well as on transatlantic relations, participants concurred that 100% scanning was neither practical nor cost-efficient given the available technology and the volume of shipments to the U.S. Commissioner Kovacs concluded that mutual recognition and bilateral cooperation is needed in addressing these critical security issues. The involvement of the private sector was also a key to developing a sound container security agreement. Participants included Mandy Bowers, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; and Peter Verga, Principal Deputy, Homeland Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, who offered the U.S. perspective. Evelyn Suarez, a partner at the law firm of Williams Mullen moderated the meeting.

Nick Witney, Chief Executive of the European Defense Agency addressed European defense capabilities and the transatlantic cooperation needed in order to meet the emerging requirements of the European Security and Defense Policy. The meeting was moderated by Ambassador Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor of RAND.

His Excellency Klaus Scharioth, Ambassador of Germany to the United States, outlined the priorities of the German Presidency of the European Union, which runs  January-June, 2007. He address a number of areas the Presidency will tackle, including the EU Constitution and enlargement, climate change, instability in the Middle East and global trade challenges such as intellectual property rights protections. He emphasized the need for a more cohesive transatlantic strategy on these and other global concerns and noted that transatlantic partnerships are vital to the success of the Presidency’s goals on these issues.

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