On March 9, 2010 The European Institute held a special meeting of its Roundtable on Defense and Security with Gábor Iklódy, State Secretary and Political Director of the Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.  Mr. Iklódy offered his perspective on the changes to EU foreign and defense policy after the Lisbon Treaty.  He addressed the need for coordination in developing EU defense capabilities in order to perform the Petersberg tasks.  And while highlighting the importance of an EU that can speak with one voice on the global stage, he also stressed that member states still need to be consulted as part of the decision making process, otherwise Europe risks becoming fragmented once again.  And although the transition to the new foreign policy architecture, that is defining the role of the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service as well as the future role of the rotating presidency, will be long and difficult, once the dust settles, the wait will have been worth it.

On February 24, 2010, The European Institute held a special meeting of its Transatlantic Roundtable on Defense and Security in New York City with His Excellency Sorin Dumitru Ducaru, Permanent Representative of Romania to the North Atlantic Council; His Excellency Linas Linkevicius, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the North Atlantic Council; and His Excellency Frank Majoor, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the North Atlantic Council. The Ambassadors addressed the evolution of NATO’s New Strategic Concept and the great fluidity of challenges that face the Alliance as it seeks to adapt to new threats that are not strictly linked to territorial defense. Ambassador Linkevicius emphasized that the NATO mission in Afghanistan is a priority, but it will take time, patience and cooperation with the Afghan people in order to declare the mission a success.  Ambassador Ducaru pointed out the need for greater global understanding about NATO’s work in order for the alliance to gain greater support for its missions, but stressed that NATO needed to work on its strategic partnerships and do a better job at communicating its wide range of missions around the world in order to achieve this goal.  Ambassador Majoor addressed the NATO-Russia relationship and stated that it is not the only issue for NATO right now, but an important and intensive one that will only move forward if common approaches can be found. Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, Director of Asia and Middle East Operations and the United Nation’s Office of Peacekeeping Operations raised the need for greater UN-NATO cooperation on missions in Afghanistan, and the Ambassadors agreed that more practical and consistent coordination at the actual working-group level could be extremely helpful and productive in furthering common objectives.

On the occasion of the annual Ambassadors’ Dinner, The European Institute launched a new initiative on Russia-EU-U.S. Triangular Relations. The fluidity and complexity of common strategic, economic, energy and environmental challenges can best be met through effective triangular cooperation. His Excellency Sergey Kislyak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States, His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, Ambassador of Spain to the United States and Ambassador Richard Morningstar, the U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy offered their assessments of the prospects for stronger triangular cooperation.

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Striking a pragmatic tone ahead of the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit, a top U.S. policy-maker said that the meeting is intended to “do some useful things” including renewed momentum on arms control.

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Hosted at the Embassy of Finland, this meeting was convened on the 10th Anniversary of the European Union’s Common Strategy on Russia and in anticipation of the upcoming EU-Russia Summit in May and the U.S.-Russia Summit in July, and included a review of Finland’s recently-released Action Plan for Russia. As both Europe and the United States ramp up diplomatic efforts, the pivotal implications of Russia’s economic, energy and security policies have spurred the need for a more coordinated and complimentary transatlantic approach. Participants included His Excellency Pekka Lintu, Ambassador of Finland to the United States; Maimo Henriksson, Director of the Unit for Russia at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Hiski Haukkala, Special Advisor for the Unit of Policy Planning and Research at Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Luc Véron, Minister-Counselor and Head of the Political and Development Section for the Delegation of the European Commission; and Samuel Charap, Fellow for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Visiting Fellow for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.