Garton Ash: Europe Needs Collective Voice on Global Stage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
+1 202 415 1195
Garton Ash: Europe Needs Collective Voice on Global Stage
BRUSSELS (March 15, 2013) – On the opening day of the eighth Brussels Forum, Oxford University Professor of European Studies Timothy Garton Ash said that Europe has a particular role to play in addressing global crises.
“It is simply impossible to imagine more effective global collective action unless Europe has a more coherent voice in the world,” he said.
“Europe has to do on a regional stage what we all have to do on a global stage. The EU today is an experimental laboratory of the future of the world. If we can’t do it, what are the chances to implement it in the rest of the world?”
Garton Ash’s remarks on the fragility of global systems came at Brussels Forum, an annual conference on the transatlantic relationship organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, and academics.
In a later session on Mali and Syria, Wendy Sherman, undersecretary for political affairs at the U.S. Department of State, defended the U.S. government’s cautious approach to the conflict in Syria. “At the end of the day, the choice is for the Syrian people,” she said. She also explained that the Obama administration is trying to learn from the past. “One of the things we learned from Iraq was the Syrian governmental infrastructure can’t be destroyed. Nearly everyone agrees that de-Baathification did not work.”
While not advocating a military intervention, Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid, and crisis response, criticized a lack of response. “Very clearly we haven’t done enough to reduce suffering,” she said. “From a humanitarian point of view, we have to recognize [that] unless we find a political solution, it will be very dangerous. In the end, it is only a political solution that can bring this tremendous suffering to an end.”
Justin Vaisse, director of policy planning in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argued that the major powers are “damned if we do, damned if we don’t.…If we don’t intervene and lives are lost, you will have blood on your hands. If we do intervene, we are accused of neoimperialsm.”
The conference’s first panel focused on the state of the global systems in the wake of the financial crisis. Former World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the potential U.S.-EU free trade agreement is important, but will take a lot of work. “We need to see the political will,” he said. “We didn’t see this political will in the first Obama term. Now maybe this will change, but the worst thing will be to talk, but not to work.”
In separate remarks, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy also addressed the upcoming talks on the U.S.-EU free trade agreement. “Obviously there will be sensitive issues,” he said. “Each of us will have to confront their sacred cows, and perhaps even including actual cows.…But with flexibility, open-mindedness, and maybe some creativity, I'm confident we will find solutions.”
GMF announced the 2013 recipients of the Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship. Named after Ronald D. Asmus, the former executive director of GMF’s Brussels office, who died in 2011, the Asmus fellows are promising young foreign policy professionals whose fellowship projects show a commitment to the transatlantic relationship and will challenge existing foreign policy practices — two ideas that Asmus embodied. Jesper Pedersen, Democratic staff director for the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been awarded the Asmus Fellowship to pursue a project that seeks to explain the lack of attention to European and Eurasian energy security issues by legislators in the U.S. Congress, the EU Parliament, and national European legislatures. Tomasz Szatkowski, head of the national security program at the Analytical Center of the Republican Foundation, a Polish think tank, will use his Asmus Fellowship to explore the question of defense capabilities in regional settings where Poland could constitute an important participant.
The winners of the third annual Brussels Forum Young Writers Award were also announced. Rachel Molomut and Teresa Cantero, both graduate students at New York University pursuing master’s degrees in global affairs, won with their essay, “An Innovative Approach to Combat Transatlantic Human Trafficking.”
Brussels Forum is an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, Congressional representatives, Parliamentarians, and academics. GMF is joined in this initiative by its founding partners Daimler and the Federal Authorities of Belgium, as well as its strategic partners BP, the OCP Foundation, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, Bank of America, and the Government of Montenegro. In addition, GMF recognizes the support of its forum partners the European Union Delegation to the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Liberal Forum, Deloitte, NYSE Euronext, the Brussels Capital Region, the Centre for European Studies, and NATO. Dinner program partners include IBM, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford Motor Company, the Secure World Foundation, European Investment Bank, Facebook, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Star Alliance is the official airline network of Brussels Forum.