Three top priorities for a re-definition or re-vitalisation of the transatlantic and EU-US relationship

Ireland
Institute of International and European Affairs

1. The issue of greatest importance is almost certainly contributing to a global solution to the global financial crisis. The lack of liquidity in domestic and international markets is of concern for Ireland, with cutbacks in public services and increasing unemployment dominating the attention of government, media and ordinary citizens. Avoiding a growth in EU-US protectionism, reassuring and encouraging US investment (and conditions for EU investment in the US), and establishing better international financial regulation are pressing issues for Ireland in future EU-US relations.[1]
 
2. Climate change continues to dominate the international relations agenda in the run-up to the international conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. In the December 2008 European Council and during his January 2009 visit to Japan, the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, made continual references to the importance of taking action against climate change.[2]
 
The importance of climate change in the re-definition of transatlantic relations is underwritten by the well publicised fact that US co-operation and action on climate change is critical for a global solution to the problem, and that this is an issue which the Bush Administration and the EU diverged from in some respects for much of the previous eight years.[3]
 
3. Public interest in and discourse over the crisis in the Middle East, especially Israel-Palestine and Iran, makes peace in the region the third most likely priority. Again this issue appears in numerous speeches of the Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and in the media.[4] Irish interest in this issue and the need for greater EU-US action on it is also evident in the recent visits to the Middle East by Micheál Martin (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Mary McAleese (President of Ireland).[5]




[1] See for example: http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=605&docID=4223, http://www.independent.ie/national-news/financial-crisis/lenihan-faces-t... and http://www.independent.ie/national-news/budget-2009/news/cowen-budget--w... (last access: 23 March 2009).
[2] See http://193.178.1.117/index.asp?locID=582&docID=4139, http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=605&docID=4188 and http://193.178.1.117/index.asp?locID=582&docID=4132 (last access: 23 March 2009).
[3] See for example: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2008/1206/1228515634912.html (last access: 23 March 2009).
[4] See http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=605&docID=4188, http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/home/index.aspx?id=80889 and http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0209/1233867927213.html (last access: 23 March 2009).
[5] See http://www.independent.ie/national-news/micheals-break-from-reality-1631..., http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/national-news/mcaleese-begins-fi... (last access: 23 March 2009).