Greek Presidency suggests to invite US Congressmen to future EU debate

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou has suggested to invite members of the US Congress to participate in the debate on the reform of EU institutions, as well as on EU defence and foreign policy plans.

The current President of the EU Council, Mr George Papandreou, stated in an interview for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard that "it would not be a bad idea to set up a separate forum of the European Parliament or national parliaments and national personalities consulting with members of the US Congress on the changes to the European institutions and what is happening to defence and foreign policy."

The proposal comes in response to a joint declaration on 14 May by 18 former cabinet-level officials from the US, calling for new ways to renew and strengthen the transatlantic relationship (see

EURACTIV of 14 May 2003). The Joint Declaration on Renewing the Transatlantic Partnership, drafted and released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggested that "US representatives should have the opportunity to observe proceedings and debates" of the ongoing European Convention and at the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference. The document also suggests that "members of the US executive branch could be associated on appropriate issues with the work of separate European Councils". "The goal of such coordination would be to produce a first draft of allied policies for impending crises, including allocation of responsibilities before a crisis has actually exploded,' states the Joint Declaration.

Mr Papandreou said that there was "a crisis or at least a problem in our transatlantic relationship." He underlined that it was in the interest of both parties to forge "a strong and real partnership."


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