Renewal of strategic dialogue and EU capable to deliver

Centre of International Relations
The three top priorities as seen by the Slovenian government for the revitalisation of the EU-US relations can be summarised as: (i) mutual understanding of a need for a truly strategic partnership, (ii) continuous dialogue and strengthening of relations on political relations and global political issues and (iii) strengthening of bilateral economic relations.
In the course of the Bush presidency the understanding of, what are common threats and challenges faced by the EU and the US have grown apart and undermined the political relations between the EU (perceived largely by the US as individual member states) and the US. The world has also changed in between; therefore, there is no simple return to the comfortable relations of the 1990s. Amidst understanding that there are different historic reasons for the relations between the EU and the US, revitalisation of relations should be based on respect for multilateralism and rule of law.
Political relations and questions of global political issues are dealt with at the informal meetings and summits, but with little preparations, short of strategic considerations and no overlook over the agreed and its implementation. In this respect, Slovenia’s government strongly supports institutionalisation of political relations with the EU in a form of a body of senior officials, which would prepare summits, and plan and overlook the implementation of the agreed measures.
“Transatlantic Economic Council” (TEC) represents the most institutionalised form of relations between the EU and the US (leaving NATO aside), but its full potential has not yet been used. It too often stumbles over imminent concrete issues, undoubtedly important to one or the other side, but so it fails to work towards a concrete goal, that of closer coordinated economies with a goal of increasing competitiveness and contributing to international economic stability. A two-tier work of the TEC, one of the immediate concerns and the other dealing with strategic issues, is needed according to the Slovenian government and also advocated by it.
The primary task for the EU in revitalisation of its relations with the US is proving that it is able to be a real partner, i. e. that it is able to deliver. There will be numerous tests on that, beginning with the willingness of the EU member states to accept a certain number of prisoners from Guantanamo, showing itself more capable in Afghanistan and also take upon its role in the Middle East. Slovenia’s government believes that the EU should pay utmost attention to act as a capable partner. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and institutions in place that are envisaged by it, are seen as of vital importance in raising the EU’s capabilities.[1]

[1] Interview at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, 3 December 2008 and 23 January 2009.