Hariri Center Director Michele Dunne and Senior Fellow Amy Hawthorne reflect on US policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the two years since President Barack Obama promised to make it a top priority to support democracy and human rights in the region.
J. Peter Pham, director the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, was one of four experts invited to address a high-level international conference on the crisis in the Sahel region convened today in The Hague.
Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
A strong European economy is essential to an effective transatlantic partnership. Yet key European countries — especially Germany — are struggling to resolve deep-rooted macroeconomic problems. The future of important but admittedly unpopular economic and social reforms is in doubt. Linked with these difficulties in Germany is a deep sense of pessimism among both the public and the policy community about the economic future of Europe. Moreover, even though some European countries have maintained healthy growth and employment rates, Germany’s lagging performance has slowed the EU economy overall, and there are now few analysts who anticipate a pan-European growth rate of more than 2.5 percent in the next few years.
If these trends continue, they may imperil the prospects of the European Union remaining an equal economic partner with the United States, according to an Atlantic Council delegation that visited Frankfurt, Berlin, and Brussels in spring 2005.
To move forward in constructing a stronger transatlantic economy, based on an improved performance in national economies, the following measures should be undertaken:
- The U.S. and European governments should establish a regular dialogue on domestic economic policy, both within the framework of U.S.-EU discussions and in bilateral U.S. discussions with key European governments, including that of Germany. These discussions should include key policymakers involved in the setting of domestic economic policy, including legislators, when appropriate. These discussions should be aimed at enhancing understanding, and over time, a closer consensus on the policy priorities within domestic economies.
- The United States and European experts should undertake discussions on demographics and the related issues of pension reforms and immigration. Because these topics are relatively longterm, the discussions should involve both government officials and outside experts who can bring in a wider variety of perspectives. The discussions should be aimed at building understanding of different approaches and perspectives but also at comparing best practices, especially in the areas of pensions.
- The United States should address its own economic weaknesses, especially the budget and current account deficits. Recent figures showing that the budget deficit will be less than anticipated will undoubtedly be viewed positively in Europe. Even if U.S. policy priorities require the continuation of these deficits, the United States should acknowledge the concerns of its economic partners.
- While recognizing that the implementation of specific elements of the Lisbon strategy is an internal EU decision and responsibility, the United States should make clear that it looks for a strong European economy as an international partner. It should reaffirm the desirability of transatlantic leadership in the global economy, but also note that the ability to lead in a diversifying international economy will inevitably be derived from a strong economic performance.
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On May 30, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will release a new issue brief, The Kaleidoscope Turns Again in a Crisis-Challenged Iran, a discussion of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections.
From June 13-14, the 2013 Wrocław Global Forum will bring together over 350 top policy-makers and business leaders to explore the region’s impact as an actor in Europe, as well as its crucial role in the transatlantic partnership and on the global stage.