The Future of Transatlantic Relations: South East Europe and Beyond

The Future of Transatlantic Relations: South East Europe and Beyond – the second conference of the Germia Hill Forum, held at Prishtina, Kosovo by ECFR Sofia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kosovo

Guests

Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo

Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo

Dimitar Bechev, Senior Policy Fellow and Head of ECFR's office

Nicolai Wammen, Minister for European Affairs of Denmark

Vlora Çitaku, Minister for European Integration of the Republic of Kosovo

Samuel Žbogar, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo / European Union Special Representative in Kosovo

David Burger, Deputy Director for South Central Europe, U.S. Department of State

Ernst Reichel, Head of the Western Balkans Division in the Federal Foreign Office, Germany

Antonio Milošosk, Chairman of Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Republic of Macedonia, former Minister of foreign affairs (2006-2011)

Paskal Milo, Former Foreign Minister, Albania

Bernard Kouchner, Former UN Special Representative and Chief of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (1999 – 2001) and Minister for Foreign Affairs, France (2007 – 2010)

István Gyarmati, President of the Democracy Center Public Foundation

Slobodan Petrović, Deputy Prime Minister, Kosovo Rosa Balfour Head of the Europe in the World programme at the European Policy Centre in Brussels

Daniel Serwer, Senior Research Professor of Conflict Management, Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Marko Prelec, Director of International Crisis Group's Balkans Project

Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, head of the Institute's department “The EU and the Neighbourhood” and Editor of “The International Spectator”

Tod Lindberg, Research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, editor of Policy Review, Hoover’s Washington

Nora Fisher Onar, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul and a Ronald D. Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellow with the German Marshall Fund

David Koranyi, Deputy Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council of the United States

Konstanty Gebert, Head of Warsaw office of the ECFR

Pakinam Rashad Hassan Khalil Elsharkawy, Assistant President of the Arab Republic of Egypt for Political Affairs and Professor Doctor at the Political Science Department, Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS), Cairo University

Jeremy Shapiro, Member of the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff Daniel Schwammenthal Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels Wassim Al-Adel Blogger on Middle Eastern culture, history and politics

Barçin Yinanç Turkish, journalist, Hürriyet Daily News

Petrit Selimi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Kosovo.

Although the importance of Europe in America’s grand strategy has been in decline since the end of the cold war, the US and the EU continue to share basic interests and values. There are indeed many issues and regional arenas where transatlantic cooperation remains a high priority: from the hotspots in the Western Balkans to the Middle East and North Africa going through a period of turmoil, to Afghanistan. But the global crisis kicking in after the 2008 financial meltdown has accentuated the drift apart. The “pivot to Asia” policy enunciated by the Obama administration in late 2011 is driven by the realization that increasingly scarce resources have to be deployed with strategic foresight. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued in a piece published by Foreign Policy, “the future of politics will be decided in [East] Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action”. Leadership succession in Beijing or the green shoots of a genuine political turnaround in Burma/Myanmar matter more to US policy makers than events in Europe’s southeast or even in oil-rich Arab world. At the same time, the now chronic financial crisis paralyzing the EU has sapped support for a more ambitious common defence and security policy helping member states leverage their collective weight in global affairs. Nowhere is that as visible as in the cutbacks in defence spending driven by austerity, as ECFR’s recent brief How to Stop the Demilitarisation of Europe has demonstrated. To be sure, a similar downscaling is happening in the US too. Despite the constraints imposed by the ongoing crisis and the differing strategic priorities, Europe and America are bound to and should work together. The second edition of Germia Hill conference organised by ECFR in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo will examine areas and issues where coordination of efforts makes a real difference. In the Western Balkans, where Eurocrisis has fortunately not put an end to EU expansion, the US still has a key role to play in helping with the unfinished business from the 1990s. EU and US have a vital stake in engaging jointly Turkey, which has emerged as a principal player in all regions it belongs to: South East Europe, Black Sea and the Caucasus, and, of course, Middle East and North Africa. And, last but not least, Europe and America have to join forces in helping anchor epochal changes across the Arab world and assist, in a non-intrusive manner, the evolution of more accountable and open political regimes to replace decades-long authoritarian rule. At the same time, they have to forge a credible strategy in dealing with security threats resulting from the instability associated with such a major shift. Regional crisis sparked off by the looming civil war in Syria and Iran’s nuclear programme, however, make such a joint strategy a rather tall order. After the remarkable success of the inaugural Germia Hill conference in Novemeber 2011, this year’s event gathered a group of top policymakers, prominent analysts and experts and high-profile journalists from the EU, US, the Western Balkans and Turkey to debate over the course of two days all those and other related issues, as well as to formulate recommendations on how to improve and advance transatlantic cooperation.

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