THE NEW ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE IN ADVANCING U.S. INTERESTS IN EUROPE

The relationship between the EU and President-elect Trump got off to an inauspicious start, after the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on 11 November 2016 during a conference in Luxembourg in front of students fired a volley of criticism across the Atlantic saying  "We will need to teach the President-elect what Europe is and how it works,” “I think we will waste two years before Mr. Trump tours the world he does not know."

THE NEW POLITICAL CONFIGURATION IN THE EP

Source: VoteWatch

Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) won the elections to become President of the European Parliament in the run-off against his compatriot Gianni Pittella (S&D). In addition to the expected support from the ECR, the centre-right candidate secured the support of the Liberal group (ALDE), after the signing of a new coalition between EPP and ALDE that aims at relaunching the European project.

NEW EP PRESIDENT: ANTONIO TAJANI

Antonio Tajani, of the EPP Christian Democrat group, has been elected president of the European Parliament fro the next two and half years. Pivotal to Mr. Tajani’s victory was a decision by Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and the leader of the Parliament’s centrist Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group, to withdraw from the race and form a coalition with Mr. Tajani’s center-right group.

A NEW AMERICAN POLICY TOWARDS RUSSIA SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY

Authors: Thomas Graham, Managing Director at Kissinger Associates and Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.

"By any number of measures, Washington’s Russia policy has failed. While ostensibly suffering from diplomatic and economic isolation under a U.S.-led international sanctions regime, Moscow has succeeded in challenging a wide range of American interests, most notably in Ukraine, Syria, and cyberspace. Coming up with a new approach on Russia should therefore be a top priority for President Donald Trump soon after Jan. 20, 2017.

THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY (IC)

The United States Intelligence Community (IC) is a federation of 16 separate United States government agencies  agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and national security of the United States. Member organizations of the IC include intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and civilian intelligence and analysis offices within federal executive departments. The IC is headed by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)), who reports to the President of the United States.

RATIONALE OF PRESIDENT ELECT TRUMP REGARDING NATO, EU, AND GERMANY

1. President elect Donald Trump calls NATO obsolete first because it was designed many, many years ago, secondly countries aren’t paying what they should and thirdly NATO didn’t deal with terrorism. NATO has problems.

BENEFITS OF A U.S.-UK TRADE DEAL

The U.K. and U.S. economies are closely tied in many areas and share many of the same interests. The United States and the United Kingdom are among each other’s strongest commercial partners. With a strong legacy of bilateral trade and investment, both economies can continue to explore mutual areas of growth and development to sustain global economic competitiveness.  

GENERAL REVISION OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE IN THE EP

In December 2014, the AFCO committee established a Working Group to proceed to a general review of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. The Working Group was composed of one MEP from each political group and chaired by Mr Wieland, Vice-president of the EP. In July 2016, the Working Group presented the outcome of its deliberations to the AFCO committee. Mr Corbett was appointed as rapporteur. The report was adopted by the AFCO committee on 8 November 2016 and submitted to plenary during the part-session of December 2016.

VIEWS OF THE WORLD OF SECRETARY OF STATE DESIGNATE REX TILLERSON

The Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson described the findings by the intelligence agencies as “clearly troubling,” and called cyber attacks from foreign actors such as Russia “the greatest and most complex threat” facing the country today.

The Secretary of State-designate labeled Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be “illegal” and proposed tougher measures to combat the Kremlin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, vowing that he would advocate providing Ukrainian soldiers with weapons.

DIPLOMACY IS ILL-SERVED BY NAME CALLING

Senator Marc Rubio during recent confirmation hearings challenged the Secretary of State designate Mr. Rex Tillerson for his views on President Vladimir Putin demanding to know whether he thought the Russian President was a war criminal. Mr. Rex Tillerson answered that he "wouldn’t use that term. Those are very, very serious charges to make and I want to have much more information." He was right.

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