U.S., EU Celebrate 50 Years of Diplomatic Ties

The U.S. and the EU celebrated 50 years of diplomatic ties in Brussels on November 25, 2003, and on May 6, 2004, in Washington, D.C.

Below is a summary of the events: Brussels, Belgium, November 25, 2003

U.S. Ambassador to the EU Rockwell Schnabel opening the symposium on 50 years of U.S.-EU Relations. On the panel are (left to right) Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston, former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission, former Ambassador to the EU Stuart Eizenstat, Moderator Kirsty Hughes of the Centre for European Policy Studies, former EU Ambassador Ove Juul Jorgensen, and former U.S. Ambassaador to the EU Richard Morningstar, November 25, 2003. Photo: Gery Jacobs The U.S. and the EU celebrated 50 years of diplomatic ties on Nov. 25, 2003, in Brussels. The U.S. sent its first observers to the European Coal and Steel Community in 1953, the year before the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States opened in Washington, D.C. To mark the occasion, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), in cooperation with the U.S. Mission to the EU, hosted a symposium to look at some of the milestones in the relationship and explore new avenues of cooperation in the future.

Speakers included former Ambassadors to the EU Stuart Eizenstat and Richard Morningstar; Alan Larson, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (by DVC); and Assistant Secretary of State Anthony Wayne and Special Cyprus Coordinator Thomas Weston, both former Deputy Chiefs of Mission at the U.S. Mission. Representing the European side were European Commission Director General Jonathan Faull; Stephano Sannino, Diplomatic Advisor to President Prodi; former EU Ambassador Ove Juul Jorgensen; former Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans; and James Elles, MEP. U.S. Ambassador to the EU Rockwell Schnabel chaired the symposium. (Program and Unofficial transcript)

Ahead of the event, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell — who was in Brussels Nov. 18 for the U.S.-EU Ministerial — unveiled with Ambassador Schnabel a plaque commemorating 50 years of U.S.-EU cooperation. “Whether it’s combating terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, fostering global growth, good governance or whether its stemming infectious disease, no nation can meet the challenges of our young century alone,” Powell said during the ceremony. “And the world’s best hope for meeting these challenges still rests, in large part, on a deep, broad, and lasting partnership between Europe and the United States.”

Secretary of State Powell celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first European Commission presence in Washington and the May 1 enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 members, May 6, 2004 Washington, D.C., May 6, 2004

American and European officials celebrated several milestones in U.S.-European Union relations and EU history at a reception at the State Department May 6, 2004. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the first European Commission presence in Washington and the May 1 enlargement of the European Union from 15 to 25 members. Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed the assembled guests and said the United States claimed the right to celebrate along with its European friends as a result of its long and strong support for the project of European integration. “American support … from its very beginning, has been critical to the European Union’s capacity to form, to succeed, and now to expand,” Powell said. “Every President from Harry Truman to George Bush has supported Europe’s grand project, and rightly so.”

In addition to celebrating “alliances of the heart — within Europe, and between Europe and America,” he said, we are celebrating “our confidence in the future, not just in Europe and not just in the Transatlantic world — but in the whole world. Above all we are celebrating the triumph of hope.” Powell said that with the admission of 10 new EU members — Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia — “we’re now past the tipping point” of a Europe “whole, free and at peace.”

Representing the EU at the reception was Guenter Burghardt, head of the European Commission delegation to the United States. Burghardt said none of the historic events being commemorated “could have been achieved without the active economic, political, and institutional support of the United States.” He also said that although the transatlantic partnership recently experienced a period of “considerable turmoil,” any differences “are clearly outweighed by what unites us.”