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Identifier
Created
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04BRUSSELS4274
2004-10-05 10:02:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

US/EU POLICY PLANNING TALKS

Tags:   PREL  IZ  IR  CH  IS  PTER  EUN  USEU  BRUSSELS 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 BRUSSELS 004274 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2014
TAGS: PREL IZ IR CH IS PTER EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: US/EU POLICY PLANNING TALKS

Classified By: USEU/POL: Harry O'Hara, reasons 1.4 b/d



1. (C) Summary: US and EU policy planners met September 20
to discuss the transatlantic relationship, the Middle East
Peace Process (MEPP), Iraq, Iran, and the Broader Middle East
and North Africa and the EU's Barcelona Process. Discussions
were frank about the challenges in the main message from
discussions on Iraq was that European nerves were still raw:
time and again EU representatives dwelled more on what had
happened over Iraq, then on what should happen to help
stabilize Iraq. When pressed by Reiss, a broad range of EU
diplomats, think tankers and journalists admitted that their
publics do not see Iraq as critical to their security (and,
by extension, this sentiment will continue to limit what the
EU collectively and its members individually can offer the
Iraqi Interim Government). In contrast, Europeans placed
greater emphasis on the MEPP and the Quartet. EU officials )
facing a dead-end of the EU-3 diplomacy over Iran --
demonstrated little appetite for tougher measures, and hoped
that somehow the US could rescue the day by launching a
&grand bargain8 with the Iranian government. End Summary.



2. (U) S/P Director Dr. Mitchell B. Reiss and S/P Principal
Deputy Director Barry Lowenkron met September 20-23 with a
broad range of European Council and Commission officials, 25
member state Political and Security Ambassadors, as well as
NGOs, European Parliament members, academics and journalists
to take the temperature of the transatlantic relationship and
to explore ways to revitalize the relationship. Key EU
officials that Reiss and Lowenkron met with include EU
Council Policy Unit Head Christoph Heusgen; Council Director
Jim Cloos; the 25 EU Ambassadors assigned to the EU Political
and Security Committee; Solana Personal WMD Representative
Annalisa Giannella; and also from the Council policy unit:
Gyorgy Tatt, Rein Tamsaar, Andreas Papaconstantinou, Bjorn
Larsson, Antonio Alvarez Barthe and Petr Hladik.

The transatlantic relationship: a warm-up round


--------------------------

--



3. (C) EU and US participants reviewed key findings of the
recent German Marshall Fund (GMF) report on transatlantic
relations. Discussed were the common transatlantic public
recognition of the need for the US and Europe to work
together, US/European support for the UN, US public support
for a stronger EU, and differences over the use of force.
Reiss stressed that the results could boost efforts to renew
the relationship: both sides of the Atlantic wanted close
cooperation, and the American public supported a strong EU.
The key was how both sides could build on the findings to
tackle key problems, above all the Middle East agenda: Iraq,

Iran, BMENA, and the MEPP.

EU not opposed to the use of force


--------------------------





4. (C) Cloos said that Iraq posed many questions for the EU
including under what circumstances could force legitimately
be used. He warned against drawing a conclusion that just
because the EU disapproved the use of force in Iraq, that
therefore, Europe opposes the use of force per se. He said
that Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan showed that Europe
could accept the use of force; furthermore, Kosovo showed
that Europe could support the use of military force without
UN blessing. Heusgen added that now Russia is seeking to
justify its right to take unilateral action against
terrorists anywhere on the basis of the rationale used by the
US to justify its use of force in Iraq. He also claimed that
the Sudanese government has borrowed the US concept of
"illegal combatants," as developed and applied to Guantanamo,
to justify some of its current actions.


Afghanistan


--------------------------





5. (C) Reiss noted that Afghanistan was one area everyone is
touting as a model of multilateral cooperation. That being
the case, he asked what more the EU could do there. Setting
aside what some member states and NATO are doing, Cloos
replied that the EU is working on developing capabilities to
support its missions abroad, including in Afghanistan, and
will get there eventually. He admitted that there is a gap
between EU will and EU capabilities and that the EU can't do
all that it would like to do. Heusgen noted that European
publics understand that Afghanistan is a security problem
both for being a source of drugs and base for various
terrorist camps.

Iraq


--------------------------





6. (C) Reiss asked the central question as whether both sides
could cooperate on Iraq today. He asked if European publics
see what is happening in Iraq as important to their security
and their futures and, if so, what are they prepared to do
about it. Heusgen noted strong European public feelings that
Iraq is not an European mess, that the US-led coalition had
made this mess, and that Iraq and Afghanistan were different.
Lowenkron noted that the US had been working to
internationalize the post-war effort, represented by two UN
Security Council resolutions. It was perfectly reasonable to
ask the EU ) especially given its strong support for the UN
-- to help in any way, including offering protection to the
UN officials working to prepare the January elections. Cloos
responded that US actions in the UN were &too late.8 He
argued that had the US approached the UN right after the end
of hostilities with the ideas it has presented since, then
the mood in Europe might have been different. Cloos
suggested that more "fundamental" to him than these recent US
internationalization efforts was a US concept that the
"mission defines the coalition." He said that this concept
undermines 40 years of transatlantic relations - not just
with the EU but also with NATO. We need to work together as
a coalition to define the mission, he said. On Iraq, Cloos
said that Europe found a way to say "no" to the US. Heusgen
added that he was pessimistic that the EU, particularly
France and Germany, will want to do anything new on Iraq --
not just before, but even after, November 2.

The "war" on terrorism


--------------------------





7. (C) Heusgen suggested that the US reconsider its effort
to link Iraq to the war on terrorism, as this linkage does
not work among European publics. He suggested that European
audiences would more sympathetic to language on the plight of
"failed," "fragile" or "failing" states. On Iraq, the US
would have a better chance if it depicted the challenge as
reconstructing a failed state or preventing a failed state.
Heusgen emphasized that the very notion of a "war" on
terrorism does not sound good in Europe, Madrid
notwithstanding. Cloos rejected an idea that Europe somehow
needs another terrorist attack to become sympathetic to the
US views on terrorism. Europe fears terrorism but doesn,t
see this as a war. Lowenkron suggested that in the fight/war
on terrorism, the difference seems to be that Europe is
concerned about it while the US is committed to fight it.

EU as "partner" or "leader"


--------------------------





8. (C) Heusgen said that the GMF study showed that US and
European publics wanted the EU to be a leader. He doubted,
however, that the US is ready to accept the EU -- with all
its weaknesses -- as a partner. On the MEPP, he argued that
the EU needs to believe that the US is willing to share
leadership with the EU -- something that currently is not the
case. On Iraq, the current situation is so "out-of-hand" that
he has trouble seeing how individual member states might want
to move in at all. At an EU-wide level, there is no support
for doing more in Iraq, he said. Perhaps if European public
understood that there would an end-point or departure state,
that would help but he wondered if anyone realistically could
see an end-point in Iraq. Reiss replied that the challenge
is to stabilize the situation in the cities so our troops can
leave them and no longer be a lightening rod. Police can do a
better job and we currently are in a race between the
insurgents and the government until January 2005 elections.
Heusgen said that regardless, European public opinionremained "very difficult"
on Iraq.

Problems with US leadership: Style or Issues?


--------------------------





9. (C) Heusgen said that the European don't oppose US
leadership per se, just the current style of leadership.
Cloos demurred and questioned whether focusing on style leads
to a constructive debate. He said that one way to turn
around negative European perceptions is to "get rid" of
Guantanamo, an issue that undercuts the US claim to offer
"moral leadership." The recent controversy of various USG
memos on the use of torture had revealed an America that
Europeans did not know. He blamed these memos for
contributing to growing cynicism on international human
rights. He added that the prison incidents in Abu Ghraib had
done "horrible damage" to the US. For a number of reasons,
including embarrassment, many in the EU didn't even want to
talk about or raise Abu Ghraib with the US. Cloos suggested
that differences over issues, not style, were at the heart of
the current condition of the relationship. Beside Guantanamo,
Iraq and Abu Ghraib, the EU was still upset about the
International Criminal Court and Kyoto. Reiss explained the
domestic history of these two issues -- including the role
and attitude of the Congress -- and added that not a single
major European country is meeting its Kyoto targets. Reiss
asked if the damage was so great that the US has lost a
generation in Europe. Cloos answered with "no-but" while
Heusgen said the transatlantic relation was in a "deep hole."

MEPP


--------------------------





10. (C) Cloos said that the MEPP is central, not just for the
EU, but also for the transatlantic relationship. He said
that the US has a number of fundamental misconceptions )
including its belief that the EU is somehow biased against
Israel. He argued that the EU does try to engage Israel
positively and does condemn Palestinian terrorism. He said
that even though many depict the EU and the US as having huge
difference on the MEPP and the roadmap, this is false. The
one big difference is that the EU believes that Arafat, as
bad as he is, can't be ignored. Cloos also expressed
frustration that Israel is able to bypass the Quartet and
make direct deals with the US on Roadmap issues that should
be dealt with in the Quartet.

BMENA


--------------------------





11. (C) Reiss briefed EU officials on the state of play on
BMENA, reinforcing the President,s message that the G-8 Sea
island initiative is multi-decade, multilateral, diplomatic
in focus and not designed to substitute for the MEPP -- all
things that the European have told us they want. Reiss said
that the US is interested in working with Europe and is
disappointed with the EU's lack of enthusiasm. Heusgen said
that the EU agreed on the objectives of BMENA and is already
spending one billion euros/year on its own Barcelona Process.
The Barcelona Process, 10 years old and an object of pride
for Solana when it was created when he was the Spanish
Foreign Minister, is in need of revitalization, he admitted.
Heusgen said that it was good that the US, through BMENA,
sought engagement in the region -- though EU had had some
concerns that US had been interested in imposing it on the
region. Lowenkron reminded Cloos that the leaked document
that touched off the original criticism in the Arab World had
been a G-8 document ) and that none of the language that had
been shared among the G-8 members claimed that the West was
intent on imposing change in the region. Cloos asked if we
could find a work-around regarding EU's fears that BMENA
would be used to distract from the MEPP.

Possible BMENA/Barcelona Process Cooperation


--------------------------





12. (C) Heusgen suggested that with all this behind us,
perhaps we could then explore some concrete areas of
cooperation in education, private investment and local
administration. The EU is working on action plans, which
would contain a broad range of regional assistance packages,
for internal EU discussion next month. There had been some
internal EU hesitation about moving ahead with these action
plans but these have been overcome. Perhaps the US and the
EU, or EC, might explore how their projects might be fitted
together; for example, in education, where the EU tends to
emphasize higher education while US assistance is focused on
secondary and elementary education. Reiss and Heusgen agreed
that Egypt is a key country. Reiss noted that promoting
democracy there would be complex and various structures
needed to be in place beforehand and that a premature push
for elections could create instability.

Political teeth for the Barcelona Process?


--------------------------





13. (C) Heusgen noted that the Barcelona Process had been
helpful in Tunisia on the business side but had not worked
well in promoting human rights. From a policy planning
perspective, Heusgen said that it was not great for the EU to
providing economic support that also strengthens an
undemocratic government. Reiss suggested that we could draw
from the old Helsinki Process Basket III approach of
reviewing and monitoring progress on human rights. Hladik
noted that precisely the Helsinki model frightens some
Arabian countries. Lowenkron stressed that it is important
that, whatever the EU or the US does, these efforts do not
degenerate into economics-only assistance. Heusgen suggested
that the EU might use the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the
Barcelona Process to make it better and also to make it more
visible to the people that it is helping.



14. (C) EU policy unit member Vassalo noted that the BMENA
project is developing in a positive direction and said that
there is wider acceptance of it in the region. Nonetheless,
Heusgen said that the EU will stick to the Barcelona Process.
USEU Min-Couns Scott noted that in many countries, where the
US and the EU wanted to help, we had only a limited universe
of participants/partners to work with. Perhaps US and EU
reps in the field could consider closer coordination under
these circumstances. Already we are doing this in a number
of Gulf States, he noted.

Iran: fork in the road


--------------------------





15. (C) Heusgen noted that while the EU-3 process had made
some progress in the last year, the Iranians have not stopped
enrichment. We can expect to enter into a difficult time
between now and the November IAEA Board of Governors Meeting.
EU policy planner Bjorn Larsson said that Iran will decide
whether we go to a good or a bad scenario. He asked if some
kind of grand deal is possible among the EU, the US, Russia
and Iran to put it on the good road. Reiss replied that Iran
already is in non-compliance on its safeguard agreement and
that we should act on that first. In addition, Reiss noted
that he had seen nothing from the Iranians indicating
interest in working with the US on a grand deal. He said if
the EU-3 argues against toughness on Iran, then we will have
a highly divisive issue in the transatlantic relationship.
As policy makers, he asked if there is a way that we can
imagine a combination of joint US/EU carrots and sticks to
get the Iranians to do the right thing. But this would not
be US sticks and EU carrots, rather the EU would have to show
sticks and be tough on Iran. Reiss cautioned that some in
the US see the current situation as one of now that the EU-3
has "failed" in Iran, they are now in a "cul-du-sac;" and
therefore the EU should now ask the US to step in and fix it.
Heusgen noted that he sees some possibility that the US and
the EU could cooperate on Iran, after November 2.

Cloos on Iraq: Round II


--------------------------





16. (C) Key Solana advisor on transatlantic affairs, Jim
Cloos, was even blunter in his September 21 conversation than
he had been the previous day. He said that the EU is not
willing to play in Iraq. While he agreed that could be a
window of opportunity to discuss this after November 2 --
regardless of who wins -- he questioned what help the EU
could provide that would make a difference to the situation
in Iraq. Reiss asked if European publics and leaders would
resonate with an appeal for help to Iraq based US help to
Europe in WWII -- something that could be explored in various
ceremonies from WWII that would take place this year. Cloos
said that using these models would be "over the top." If the
US wants to work on Iraq with the EU, we would need to start
some private talks with Solana but currently, Cloos said, the
EU is not prepared to deal with us on Iraq in a serious
fashion. Cloos also said that "nice words" from the US would
not be enough to get a serious commitment from the EU on
Iran. The MEPP would be a different matter -- this is for
the EU and for Solana, the number one foreign policy problem
for the EU and an area where US leadership is essential and
desirable.

Cloos on MEPP: Round II


17. (C) Cloos said that "emotions in the EU on the Quartet
are boiling" with him and others increasingly seeing this as
something to keep the Europeans happy. He sees Israel as not
respecting the Quartet and the US tacitly permitting this.
Cloos said that despite this, no one in the EU opposes US
leadership in the MEPP.

What the EU can do for the US?


--------------------------





18. (C) When asked by Reiss what the EU offers the US if we
would work together more in foreign policy, Cloos listed
greater legitimacy in the international arena for our
actions, political links that the US does not have, some
independent EU capabilities from its nascent battle groups to
election observers, financial assistance to key countries
through the Barcelona Process, and trade and cooperation
agreements -- a powerful carrot for countries like Iran.

PSC Ambassadors lunch


--------------------------





19. (C) Director Reiss addressed the ambassadors of the EU
Political and Security Committee (PSC) over lunch, focusing
on the critical challenges facing the US and EU in the
greater Middle East: Iraq, Iran, BMENA, and the MEPP. Most
of the discussion following Reiss,s presentation covered the
MEPP with Reiss fielding questions about settlements, Gaza,
Israel, and US views on a nuclear free zone in the mid-east
(as a way to get a handle on Iran,s nuclear program). While
most participants preferred to talk about the MEPP and the
failure of the US and the EU to work well together there, the
Dutch PSC Ambassador tried to shift the discussion to Iraq.
In the short discussion on Iraq, Ambassador Hamer, the Dutch
Presidency Ambassador who chaired the lunch for the EU, said
that the EU was not disengaged from Iraq and that the EU
supported the Iraqi President, that discussions on debt
relief were "ongoing", that the EU is considering election
support and support for UN and other protection forces.

Other topics


--------------------------





20. (C) On China, one PSC Ambassador said that the current EU
arms embargo was only about Tianmanen and not the current
human rights situation in China. The French Ambassador
highlighted the EU Code of Conduct, while arguing that it was
unnatural for the EU to lump China in with a handful of
states where the EU still retained sanctions. Another PSC
Ambassador suggested that US/EU differences over China arms
will lead to another transatlantic disagreement. On
terrorism, a number of PSC Ambassadors said that the US is
too focused on military responses. On a more positive note,
one PSC Ambassador praised US/EU cooperation in the Balkans
as good for the Balkans and good for transatlantic relations.

NGO/think tank/journalist discussion


--------------------------





21. (SBU) Reiss met with a broad range of journalists, think
tankers, EU officials, European Parliamentarians at two
off-the-record conversations, one sponsored by the German
Marshal Fund on September 20 and the second by the Bertelsman
Foundation on September 21. Participants echoed many of the
comments and concerns expressed in the policy planning talks.
However, the tone was often sharper.

Iraq


--------------------------





22. (SBU) Numerous Europeans described the damage done by
Iraq to the US image in Europe as significant. Others
admitted that the European reaction had a strong emotional
content that made this difficult to repair. There was strong
consensus that "things were far from normal" in the
transatlantic relationship, despite recent efforts at Summits
to "paper things over." Others wondered whether the European
could "trust" what the US says in light of the lack of WMD in
Iraq.



23. (SBU) There was widespread feeling that the Mid-East
Peace Process is much more important than Iraq for Europeans.
One participant argued that Iraq was not the cause of the
current transatlantic crisis, rather Europe felt slighted by
the lack of a US effort to work with Europe in the immediate
aftermath to 9/11. Another participant wondered if US
foreign policy was being driven by conflict between a &good
side8 and a &bad side.8 The problem for the US, from a
European perspective, is that the bad side is winning. This
"bad side" wins when the US commits a fundamental breach of
values through its use of torture and when US leaders
allegedly do not accept the consequences of their actions.
If the US continues in this way, there will be a major
transatlantic break with foreign policy coordination
occurring on a case-by-case basis and not on the basis on
common beliefs or values.

Iran


--------------------------





24. (SBU) On Iran, a journalist suggested that if Europe is
given the choice between an Iran with nukes or a decision to
bomb Iran, Europe will choose an Iran with nukes. If the US
does bomb Iran, this will be the nail in the coffin of the
transatlantic relationship. Another journalist said that
Iran should be seen less dramatically and as a test of US
commitment to multilateralism -- especially when
multilateralism is "hard."

US Response: questions are two-way


--------------------------





25. (SBU) Both Reiss and Lowenkron noted that a clear message
coming through from many of their European interlocutors is
that, despite the difficult state of transatlantic relations,
Europeans expected the US to help them out whether it be the
MEPP or Iran. What this misses is that US also has questions
about the transatlantic relationship, Europe's commitment to
helping Iraq, and fighting terrorism and nuclear
proliferation. Lowenkron told the Bertelsman Foundation
participants that a message to Washington comprising of
"press the Israelis and don,t ask us for any help on Iraq8
was hardly fruitful for building a solid trans-atlantic
relationship. Several participants took exception to the
stark way the view was presented ) but not to the view
itself.

Comment


--------------------------





26. (C) At every event, Director Reiss and Dep. Dir.
Lowenkron asked their European hosts to imagine a blank sheet
onto which they were free to write down as many policy
recommendations as they would like as to what the U.S. should
do in Iraq. Most left their pages blank. Two (Heusgen and
Cloos) argued that the sheet should have one point: move out
on the Israeli-Palestinian front. The failure of Europe to
see that what happens in Iraq is important for European
security, and not just the security of the United States, was
sobering. If this is indeed the case, then the EU is in
danger of missing an opportunity post-November 2 to try to
fix the relationship. The bottom line message to Dir. Reiss
was the EU seems willing to run the risk that it can &sit
out8 Iraq (while demanding greater action on MEPP and US
carrots on Iran) without further damaging the trans-atlantic
relationship.



27. (U) S/P cleared this message.



28. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.

Schnabel