As a part of the professional development of our MAEUS students, the European Union Center offers students the opportunity for a trip to Washington D.C. in the Spring semester. This year's trip happened from March 21 to the 25. This article is Part One of a series of posts written by different MAEUS students. In this article, Marshall Janevicius writes about the trip to the EU Delegation to the United States.
On March 22, 2017, a group of six MA students and Professor Neil Vander Most toured the EU Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC. We were fortunate enough to meet with Martin Caudron (Senior Communications Officers) and Marc Jay (First Secretary); we also met briefly with David O’Sullivan (Ambassador) who attended the EU Center’s EU Day in March 2017.
The EU Delegation to the United States opened in 1954 and now has around one hundred staff members working in the United States. The EU has 140 delegations around the world making it the fifth most internationally represented institution in terms of delegations. The EU-US relationship has grown over the years, along with the number and breadth of the EU Delegation’s missions. The EU Delegation takes part in all official dialogues between the EU and US. Some of the other duties of the delegation include EU-US summits (usually two per year), energy forums, cyber security working groups, official visits, and compiling grants and service contracts.
The EU Delegation works in tandem with many other agencies and delegations in Washington, DC. They have many contracts with local think tanks, like the European Institute think tank. The delegation has also been working closer with individual EU member state delegations in recent years. By working closely with member states, delegations for the EU and member states both can increase their bargaining power during negotiations.
Another responsibility of the delegation is to continually reinforce the importance and relevance of the EU to the US. There are many barriers and difficulties in promoting EU-US relations at times due to the lack of knowledge that people have of both institutions. Caudron explained that it is sometimes difficult to initiate this dialogue about their relationship, but once the dialogue begins, it is often quite easy to find and share similarities between the two.
The meeting with the EU Delegation was very beneficial for our group. It was a unique opportunity to have candid conversations with high-ranking individuals while also receiving a glimpse into the ever-changing environment of the delegation.