Hassan on Kurd Connection About Future of Transatlantic Relations

Media Coverage | June 06, 2017

Kawa Hassan, Director of EWI's Middle East and North Africa Program, was on Kurd Connection to comment on the latest developments in the Europe-United States relationship. The segment, aired on June 30, focused on the speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the fate of the European Union following the G7 talks in Italy.

Some highlights from Hassan's remarks are:

  • Climate change is not only important for Europe, but also affects the entire globe and humanity. The European Union spent a lot of time and effort to lobby most countries to sign the Paris Climate Agreement. America's withdrawal from the agreement is a big blow to multilaterialism that aims at achieving and implementing joint actions to address the global impacts of climate change. 
  • On May 28, Chancellor Merkel told an election rally in Munich that the EU cannot completely rely on the U.S. and UK. The tone and frankness of the speech is unprecedented since she is known to be cautious in her public statements and speeches. Partly, this has to do with the upcoming election in September in her country, and partly has to do with a broad European concern about the policies and unpredictable character of U.S. President Donald Trump. This tone symbolizes a shift in trans-Atlantic relations. Merkel made it clear that the EU should be less dependent on the U.S. and more dependent on itself. 
  • To an extent, Trump has a point when he reiterated at a NATO meeting in Brussels that other member states have failed to meet the 2% spending commitment. The EU must be willing to increase its defense spending. Furthermore, at the same NATO meeting, Trump did not reiterate his commitment to Article 5 of NATO. These are fundamental changes in the trans-Atlantic alliance but they don't  necessarily herald the end of NATO and G7 because of three factors:
    • The U.S. is still the largest economic and military might in the world;
    • The EU still needs U.S. military protection against external threats; and
    • The U.S. remains a big market for EU products.

Watch the interview below courtesy of Kurd Connection, a joint program of Voice of America Kurdish Service and NRT, the Satellite Kurdish TV. Hassan's remarks begin around the 0:12 mark.