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Embassy of the European Union Delegation to the United States

Date : Feb 16, 2017
Time : 6:30pm-8:30pm
Place : 2534 Belmont Road NW, Washington, DC 20008

With His Excellency David O’Sullivan; Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States

 

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On February 16, 2017 His Excellency David O’Sullivan, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, hosted the World Affairs Council-Washington, DC’s members, Board of Directors, and distinguished guests at his residence for a WAC-DC Embassy Series event.  The program began with WAC-DC President  & CEO Tony Culley-Foster providing a brief history of the European Union.

Ambassador O’Sullivan then gave remarks highlighting the importance of EU-US bilateral relations.  He called the relationship a “logical consequence of history.”  Throughout the 20th century, the US and Europe have strengthened their ties with one another.  2017 marks the centennial anniversary of the US entering World War I along with the 70 year anniversary of George Marshall’s speech that went on to develop the Marshall Plan.  The Marshall Plan provided financial assistance to a recovering Europe after World War II.  The US was integral to rebuilding Europe, which further strengthened the alliance between the two.  

Ambassador O’Sullivan also described the creation of the European Union.  What began as 6 member states has grown to 28 members.  Economic prosperity was the main focus of the original group, but since then members have worked together for economic, political, and social prosperity.  The Ambassador said that no country has been worse off since joining the EU.  Despite some of the negative comments regarding membership in the EU, it aims to move forward and continue to promote prosperity for all its members.
  
During the question and answer session, guests asked Ambassador O’Sullivan about European support of NATO and the refugee crisis.  In regards to NATO, the Ambassador said that Europe has the second largest defense budget in the world, second to that of the US.  His Excellency called for more European cooperation to improve defense spending, and therefore contribute more to NATO. 

Another question posed by a guest regarded the influx of refugees in Europe from the Middle East.  Ambassador O’Sullivan criticized both Europe and the US for not accepting those that fled persecution in the 1930s.  He claimed that there is a “moral responsibility to accept immigrants.” The rising fear of immigrants in Europe and the US needs to be managed in an appropriate way, the Ambassador said.  People need to feel like there is control, he said, whereas a perceived sense of chaos will ultimately lead to disorder.  Ambassador O’Sullivan praised the US resettlement program, but the timely procedure is not an option for Europe.  His Excellency ended his speech by saying that the global challenges facing the world today need global responses.