Visegrád Four: Key Partners in the Transatlantic Community
On May 14, I hosted my counterparts from the foreign ministries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.  These four Central European countries form a consultative group called the Visegrád Four, or V4.  Although under Communist rule from the 1940s until 1989, in less than a generation they have successfully built democratic governments and transitioned to market economies, earning membership in NATO and the European Union. MORE

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute Connects Young Leaders

U.S. and European Union flags wave at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, May 18, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Amanda Berry serves in Office of Public Diplomacy in theBureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

Imagine this: Mere minutes after a lengthy bilateral meeting with European counterparts, you step on to the stage and take your place behind a microphone. You have been asked, alongside a “top official” from the United States, to represent Germany at a press conference on the latest developments in the Eurozone. Palms sweating, you take the first question, hoping that they will be easy on you. A journalist turns on his microphone and starts out with a tough one, “Germany has been imposing austerity measures across the Eurozone, but are you considering the effects these drastic measures might have on working class Europeans?”

For 68 European and American high school students representing 42 different countries, this scenario became reality, if only for a few hours, in a simulation conducted at the State Department as part of the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows… more »

The State of Transatlantic Relations
Flags of NATO members states seen in front of NATO headquarters, Brussels, June 11, 2009. [AP File]

About the Author: Philip H. Gordon serves as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

In early January, I had the opportunity to engage with European policy-makers and analysts in Brussels, Vilnius, and Copenhagen. Given President Obama’s announcement of the new defense strategy guidelines on January 5, my visit provided an opportune moment to share U.S. perspectives on the state of the transatlantic alliance as well as policy objectives for the coming year. My central message was clear: three years into the Obama Administration, the strategic alignment between the United States and Europe has never been greater. This theme… more »