In anticipation of President Bush's three-day trip to Europe beginning on February 22—the first overseas trip of his second term—over forty prominent leaders from both sides of the Atlantic have written and signed a "Compact Between the United States and Europe" that will be released at this Brookings briefing. The compact goes beyond frequent calls for transatlantic cooperation and spells out concrete, specific policy measures that both sides should take regarding such difficult issues as Iran, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, climate change, the Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court, Sudan, the Middle East, and the developing world. The Compact is a challenge to leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to put recent disputes behind them and work together on the common challenges we face.
During his trip, President Bush will go to Brussels for meetings with NATO and European Union leaders, to Germany for meetings with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and to the Slovak Republic, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president also will have dinner with French President Jacques Chirac. Following Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's European trip, the president's visit is being billed as an opportunity for the United States to mend fences with some of its traditional allies in the wake of the serious disputes of the past several years.
At this Brookings briefing, a panel of experts will discuss the Compact and assess the prospects for reconciliation with Europe on the key issues. Is the new tone in the relationship a sign of substantive change? Or does it only mask fundamental, enduring differences? Panelists will take questions from the audience following their remarks.