Tag Archives: Congress

MEPs review EU-US relations

Strasbourg 05.10.2021 “…There are some difficult issues: secure the change of supply on the field of semiconductors, to be sure that we are not going to create in the future an overcapacity; to talk about tariffs; data protection; artificial intelligence. This is an incredibly broad set of issues that will shape the future and on which we have to engage more with the United States” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, addressing the European Parliament plenary.

“A last word on COP-26, we look forward to continuing our close coordination with the United States to get every country to do more to fight climate change. Yesterday, I was in Saudi Arabia talking about it. Sometimes it is a difficult discussion, because we, Europeans, are only 8% of the global emissions. Even if we cancel them tomorrow, zero emissions, the problem will be the same. It will still be the 92%, the rest…”

Diplomatic relations between the EU and the U.S. date back to 1953. The relationship between the EU and the U.S. is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The EU and U.S. are the biggest economic and military powers in the world, dominate global trade, play the leading roles in international political relations, and whatever one says matters a great deal, not only to the other, but to much of the rest of the world.

Relations between the U.S. House of Representatives and the European Parliament can be traced back to 1972, when a group of Members of the House, led by Representative Sam Gibbons of the House Ways and Means Committee, traveled to Brussels for the express purpose of meeting and exchanging views with the Parliament. The first congressional visits to Brussels were arranged by Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means who were interested in issues such as agriculture subsidies, steel-tariffs, anti-dumping initiatives, and general trade-related areas. These initial parliamentary contacts, which only involved the House of Representatives, became known as the United States European Community Interparliamentary Group. Soon after these early exchanges were initiated, Members of the House and MEPs began meeting twice a year, once in the United States and once in Europe. On January 15, 1999, during the 50th inter-parliamentary meeting in Strasbourg, the European Parliament and the U.S. House of Representatives formalized their institutional cooperation into a framework called the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD). This inter-parliamentary relationship is, indeed, the longest and most intensive one in the history of the European Parliament.

Zagreb: Tusk longing for «order & harmony» 

“In times of uncertainty, and most probably there will be no other times, when everything changes around us, and runs off in all directions, people want to be certain, that those in power will not abandon them, that they will not turn their backs on them. When left alone, they start looking for those, who offer care and concentration on their problems. They desire attention. “Look at us” – they seem to say – “we are here”. They, or should I say, we all are hungry for appreciation, dignity and importance, and we all feel the need to be part of a bigger community. And to be proud of it. This is why it is so easy to win people’s hearts by those who shout in a loud voice: “get up off your knees, make your country great again, take back control”. In other words, those who strike the right chord, the chord of dignity, will get people’s votes.” said Donald Tusk in his speech at European Peoples Party Summit in Zagreb.

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1194714921990328321?s=21

 “In a political fight, truth and decency cannot be completely helpless against fake news, manipulation and hate. You must believe in yourselves and the power of your arguments. Do not be afraid to say in public what you really feel (even if you may sometimes think it’s a dangerous experiment), and  you will surely evoke people’s emotions and capture their attention” he added.

Congratulations, dear Donald Tusk, on your election as President of the EPP. Throughout your career you have given much to the EU project and I am sure that you will continue to serve a united Europe – one that is firmly based on democracy, the rule of law and social justice” wrote the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, reacting upond EPP decision of endorsing Tusk as leader.

Moscow to Washington – ‘quid pro quo’

Kremlin has been actively preparing a response to the highly probable sanctions from the US awaited by the end of this week. According to Kommersant newspaper sources, the Foreign Ministry suggested the Russian authorities seizure of  the summer residence of the American Embassy in woodland ‘Serebryany Bor’ (‘Silver forest’), situated on artificial island of Moskwa river, and their storage facilities. This will be a symmetrical response to the arrest imposed on Russian diplomatic property in the US by the previous administration.

In addition, 35 American diplomats can be expelled from the country – the same number of staff of the Russian Embassy in Washington was ordered to leave the US in December last year. Also, the Russian side is considering the possibility of limiting the maximum number of employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, currently exceeding the number of Russians in the embassy in Washington.

“Kommersant” also describes possible asymmetric economic measures.

Kremlin can create complications for the United States in the UN Security Council, where the States are seeking to increase pressure on North Korea.

Moscow’s economic sanctions against Washington can be expressed in direct circumcision of trade turnover, restrictions on the work of American companies in the country and some form of withdrawal of investments already made by them in Russia.

Possible restrictions on the part of exports from Russia to the United States may be quite sensitive, but with no less serious adverse effect.

Kommersant points out that the United States has been critically dependent on deliveries of a Russian enriched uranium product for its nuclear power plants over the last decades. Since 2015, the supplies have gone through direct commercial contracts with US energy companies and Russia has received a quota of 20% of the market. The possible halt of supplies will hurt both sides: the US will have to seek replacement of the Russian deliveries in the market with a small number of players, and Russia to quickly find a replacement for American buyers.

Another double-edged area is the supply of titanium. The US remains the main export market for Russian VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest titanium producer operating in business with aerospace companies around the world. In 2016 the country provided the company with 32% of shipments and 48% of export sales. It is Russia that covers more than a third of the needs of the aircraft-building  Boeing.

Even stronger economic impact can be caused by the limitation of the work of American companies in Russia. They are most widely represented in the consumer market and in IT.  Moscow has already successfully tested in the case of Europe. American Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the absolute leaders in the production of soft drinks: companies in Russia have their own plants for the production of soda and juices. No less popular in Russia are American IT companies Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. Also, the ban can affect the pharmaceutical  market.

The US Congress announced that the upper house – the Senate – could vote on the draft law on sanctions until the end of this week.