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Monday, 12 June, 2000, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Does Europe need America?

The apparent failure or unwillingness to seize ever-closer European union as an opportunity is not entirely confined to Britain.

Many wonder where the charismatic figures of Europe are - the ones people would expect to be trumpeting federalism.

As President Clinton completes his tour of Europe, an arguably disproportionate influence is left to Washington as a result of a lack of direction or agreement from the Europeans themselves.

Is Europe still overshadowed by the US? Does it still look to the US for a lead, and as the sole superpower without whom Europe is meaningless? Or is there a strong Euro identity taking shape which could overturn American dominance?

In this week's Europewide debate we ask - Does Europe need America? Europe Today's Mark Reid brought together Larry Siedentop - in London - and Francois Sergent, Washington bureau chief of the French daily Liberation.

This debate is now closed. Here are a selection of comments that we have received.




I believe that Europe should once more return to its true identity and not embrace American ways and culture

Hussein, USA
I believe it is truly sad that as America continues its progress, it destroys the culture of not only Europe but also Asia, Africa, South America and even Australia. For this reason, I believe that Europe should once more return to its true identity and not embrace American ways and culture.
Hussein, USA

We Russians welcome European integration. Russia is part of Europe, and Europe is part of Russia. We want to be engaged and stay together. For this reason, a stronger Europe is good for Russia, it is good for Europe, and it is good for the US too.
Alexander Bolshakov, Russia

Europe should forge ahead to form its own identity. It doesn't have to adopt the American federal model but can still fulfil a vital role as a transnational body with the strength to regulate transnational companies.
Laura, UK

Europe should keep its close ties with the USA. It is the only way that stability in the world can exist
Colleen Nelson, New Zealand

Europe's relationship with America can be compared to that of a teenager and his parents. They depend on their parents for money and shelter. At the same time they are trying to find themselves and go against their parents' power. Clearly, Europe has benefited from the US and should keep its close ties to secure some chance of global peace in the future.
EF, USA



The US and Europe need each other to continue creating a progressive democratic world

Leisa Vladimiroff, New York, USA
The US and Europe need each other to continue creating a progressive democratic world. Whether we like it or not, the world is becoming much smaller and more united with the Internet and organisations such as the WTO, EU, NATO and the United Nations. We are already a global economy - now we have to make it work for everyone. At this moment in time, Europe and the US need to focus on integrating Russia and the former Soviet countries into the existing global economy. This is the only way to provide continued stability in Europe and the rest of the world.
Leisa Vladimiroff, New York, USA

Europe needs to rely on itself rather than the US, at least militarily. The bombing of Yugoslavia by US-led NATO only made things worse for all of us here in the Balkans. Economically, however, the US can help Europe as a major partner in trade.
Eleni Konstantinopoulou, Greece

I would like to see the US pull out of NATO and leave the EU to its own devices. I feel that the US gives far more to the EU in terms of defence guarantees and trade (i.e. market access) than it receives in return. We allowed this to happen during the Cold War and justified this trade-off as necessary to maintain our strategic alliances. But now, we do not need Europe for our security so there is no reason to continue to suffer Europe's annoyances.
Jerry Surowiec, USA

The relationship that Europe has with the US increasingly resembles the one that Canada has with its southern neighbour. The US is Canada's "big brother". We look up to him, but at the same time, we despise him for being so arrogant and strong. In short, all of us in the West need the United States, and although we claim that we can "go it alone," the actions we take don't prove that. Even if Europe did start to become stronger (in various aspects), the US would try its best to limit your progress. After all, nobody likes to lose power!
Sabrina Taylor, Canada

I think it's great that Europe has decided to expand and take on a more active role in the world and not be dominated by one country. The United States needs an equal power in military and financial status to keep us in check. No one country needs to dominate it needs to be shared. Europe and America need to work as a team not alone.
Kyle Watts, USA



A more relevant question would be does the US really need Europe.

Greg, US
A more relevant question would be does the US really need Europe. The important economic markets for us are in Asia and South America. That is where our efforts should lie. Europe can look out for itself. And if times get really tough you can always follow the French, right?
Greg, US

America should remain engaged with Europe if for no other reason than as a reminder that there is an entire planet outside the USA. If she wishes to carry the mantle of 'the last remaining superpower' and she would be wise to keep an eye over her shoulder on China. American has a responsibility to engage, co-operate and develop an understanding of the rest of the world, not impose its political and commercial will on it. Europe does indeed need America; the political and commercial ties will not, and should not go away. But as an equal, not a dependant.
B D Keener, Germany

Europe remains a politically fragmented continent. That fragmentation will continue, despite the EU. Europe, without the glue of a US presence, US interests, and US bashing, will continue to politically fragment. The US must also retain a presence in Europe for its own security interests, specifically to encourage stability in Europe, the continent that spawned two world wars.
Saverio De Ruggiero, USA

The USA should stay out of European affairs and sort out the problems in its own back yard. This could start with its bankrupt policies towards Cuba.
John, UK



Europe and the USA are close friends and have a mutual interest in the defence of each other as we live in a symbiotic relationship.

Stuart Huntley, England
Europe and the USA are close friends and have a mutual interest in the defence of each other as we live in a symbiotic relationship. However post WW2 Europe was dominated by American culture, economics and politics which had a stunting effect on the rebirth of European culture however hard the Euro states tried to resist.
Stuart Huntley, England

Whilst it is certainly true that Europe owes America a great debt for its present situation it would seem that with the increase in European unity and the potential for a sense of European identity grants Europe a certain cultural distinction. It has always been the case that Europe needed America more than America needed Europe and with Europe increasingly stable and secure, building a more insular economy we will ties between Europe and the USA will probably be reduced purely to economics rather than culture.
Craig, UK



Europe's power must increase and the world will witness the next Euro-American age

Scott Novak, USA
I believe that a Euro-identity is taking shape, and all for the better. Look at what Europe's countries were doing to each other 50 years ago and now they are unifying. The US has no right to protest against this and most people here don't. Europe's power must increase and the world will witness the next Euro-American age.
Scott Novak, USA

I think that the US would like to see Europe become more self-reliant when it comes to matters of defence, but then would have some problems reconciling that with a desire to ensure that its core principals are not undermined.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

To have peace in the coming decades, it is imperative that Europe wean itself from the leadership of the USA and develop its own policies to counter-balance the USA's. For 55 years the USA's money and military have directed European actions. While this was fine at one time, it is now unfortunate because the maintenance of peace needs a European viewpoint.
Matt Connolly, USA



Remember, diversity is happiness!

Stephen, USA
The EU could survive without the US and part of the reason for the EU's existence is to stop individual European countries being pushed around by the US. However, it would be stupid and pointless for Europe to have a future with no US ties, as it is a powerful country and economy. Nevertheless, we must not allow Washington in a globalised world to impose the ideas of uncontrolled free market economics with no capacity for social justice on us.
Dave Lock, Wales

Remember, diversity is happiness!
Stephen, USA

America and Europe are not only interdependent, they share a common identity which defines, in no small part, their interests. We are, on both sides of the Atlantic, part of the same civilisation, the West, and as such we will sail through the storms together whatever happens.
Louis-Blaise Dumais-Lévesque, Canada



I would like to see America disengage from Europe and the rest of the world and start focusing her vast resources inward

John Quigley, USA
I believe that the last war in Kosova was in fact a turning point in EU/USA relations. The success of NATO has always been dogged with the question, "would America be prepared to commit itself in the defence of Europe?" Until the Kosovan war, British defence policy relied on NATO, and scorned attempts to unify European forces such as "Eurocorps". Now, since the Kosovan war, the UK has been more welcoming of common defence organised by Europe. I believe that further conflicts and strains will weaken NATO further - and that eventually it will be replaced with a European-only equivalent.
Steve Blunden, UK

As an American, I don't think Europe needs America. I think the present situation has just become too comfortable. I would like to see America disengage from Europe and the rest of the world and start focusing her vast resources inward. After all, we are supposed to be the constituents represented by the leaders in Washington.
John Quigley, USA



I believe that Europe and the US will have to develop even stronger ties in the near future

Richard Jones, USA
I believe that Europe and the US will have to develop even stronger ties in the near future. Although the US sees itself as the only major superpower, Europe is catching up. For example, Airbus Industrie is surpassing Boeing in its production of civil aircraft. The sooner the US recognises Europe's power, the better chance it has to possibly unify rather than compete with the EU.
Richard Jones, USA

I think that there will always be a strong link between the US and Europe simply because of our strong cultural link, since most Americans are descended from Europe. I also believe that the EU will eventually evolve into an enlarged entity which will go beyond Europe and with which the US will become more involved, such as becoming a member itself. So the European-US link will remain close for the foreseeable future.
Antonio Perez, USA



It seems that Europeans are starting to get bored with America and discover their own diversity and the rest of the world

Ann Hagemann, USA, German citizen
I think that Europe is at a cross road right now. I don't doubt that Europe could stand on its own if it chooses to do so. It seems that Europeans are starting to get bored with America and discover their own diversity and the rest of the world.
Why only American movies, American books, American political ideas? Europe right now is the one that is trying out something new (the EU that is), not America. Will it be a success - who knows. But fact is, that Europeans should not consider themselves to be inflexible and rigid. The Americans are that too in their own way. They are totally behind in environmental protection, gun control and social welfare.
This is not against America. I like the USA and I think that Europeans should not risk the friendship with America (that is true also for America). But a little bit more of European self-confidence can only better the relationship with the USA. I say, go for it Europe!
Ann Hagemann, USA, German citizen

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