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My First 100 Days in Office
Blog Post by Ambassador Gitenstein
May 13, 2022

Ambassador Mark Gitenstein
Ambassador Mark Gitenstein

I arrived in Brussels earlier this year with a mandate from President Biden to strengthen the U.S.-EU relationship.  Since early 2021, the United States and the European Union had already made significant progress in resolving outstanding issues and charting a common path forward.  The President’s visit to Brussels in  June 2021 for the EU-U.S. Summit laid out a roadmap for our cooperation.   

A lot has happened since I arrived in January.  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has posed the most significant security challenge to the transatlantic community since World War II.  

Unity is a precursor for our success. 

The U.S. and the EU are united in condemning Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression.  We have imposed devasting economic sanctions and export controls on the Russian economy.  We have cut Russian banks off from the SWIFT financial transfer system, sanctioned Russian and Belarusian officials involved in human rights abuses, and targeted the financial networks and assets of those close to the Kremlin.

The U.S. and the EU are working together to support the brave people of Ukraine, who are defending their country’s freedom and sovereignty.  We are providing billions of dollars in military assistance and weaponry to confront Russia’s aggression.  We are supporting the Ukrainian government with direct financial assistance to help stabilize its economy.  And we are providing humanitarian support for Ukrainians who remain in the country and for those who are now refugees across Europe.   

The U.S. and the EU are also working together to strengthen Europe’s energy security.  During President Biden’s trip to Brussels this March, he and European Commission President von der Leyen announced a new task force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels.  We will accomplish this by importing additional U.S. liquified natural gas into the EU market, and by investing in renewable energy projects to meet our ambitious climate goals.  

This year we launched and reinvigorated multiple dialogues and formal consultations which allow us to continue our cooperation.  I recently joined Deputy Secretary Sherman in the third meeting of the U.S.-EU Dialogue on China, and we also held consultations about our respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific region.  Through the new U.S.-EU Russia Dialogue, the U.S. and the EU discussed how best to hold Russia accountable for the war in Ukraine.  In addition, we launched a new U.S.-EU Security and Defense Dialogue to deepen our cooperation in the security sector as we bring the full range of our diplomatic, economic, and military tools to bear in confronting our shared challenges.   

The United States and the EU are the two largest net exporters of digital services and are each other’s most important digital trade partners.  The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is already hard at work growing the bilateral trade and investment relationship.  The TTC seeks to strengthen global cooperation on technology, digital issues, and supply chains, and to avoid new and unnecessary technical barriers to trade. 

The U.S.-EU Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue will focus on creating shared approaches to competition policy and enforcement and will increase cooperation in the tech sector.  And our new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework will foster data flows, strengthen privacy protections, and promote an inclusive digital economy. 

Moving ahead, I will continue working with my EU colleagues to ensure an equitable global economic recovery, combat climate change and foster green growth, and strengthen trade and investment. Democracy is essential to meeting all these challenges in our changing world.  Together, the United States and the EU will uphold our shared democratic values to secure a more peaceful world and confront those autocracies bent on undermining our democratic systems.   

We are stronger when we work together, and today the transatlantic relationship is more important and vital than ever.