FIRESIDE CHAT: CENTRAL EUROPE THROUGH AN AMERICAN LENS
On 29 May 2019, the Antall József Knowledge Centre and the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy held a discussion on US-V4 relations at City Club Los Angeles on the occasion of the publication of the AJKC’s textbook Central Europe and the Visegrad Cooperation, with the title “Fireside Chat: Central Europe through an American Lens”.
In his opening speech, AJKC Director Péter Antall praised the legacy of President Reagan, with special regard to his contributions to the cause of freedom in our region. Meanwhile, Consul General Tamás Széles detailed the recent improvement in US-Hungary relations.
During the conversation, Robert Kaufman, Robert and Katheryn Dockson Professor of Public Policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, asked AJKC Senior Research Fellow and editor of the abovementioned book Dr Péter Stepper about a number of relevant issues in the two countries’ bilateral relations. In his introduction, Kaufman called East Central Europe a region of key importance in US foreign policy with regard to China, Russia, and Iran, and argued that the V4 Cooperation was an “underrated” aspect of US foreign policy. To his question about NATO’s reputation in Hungary today, Stepper explained that it is sometimes difficult to understand what exactly the US’s expectations are, for example with regard to the development of defence capabilities.
When asked what the EU could do to limit Chinese economic and political advances, Stepper mentioned that there are already some (mainly Western) efforts within the European Commission to stand up to certain Chinese companies, but an agreement such as TTIP could also serve this purpose.
The speakers also mentioned the opportunities inherent in the foreign policy shift represented by the Trump White House. The administration’s preference for bilateral talks is a good opportunity for the various EU Member States to highlight their own unique concerns, which could especially be useful for the aforementioned “underrated” countries of the Visegrad Cooperation in increasing the visibility of key issues.
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