- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2008

ATLANTIC AGENDA

The president of the European Commission on Wednesday released a letter to the next president of the United States, saying the challenges facing the trans-Atlantic alliance will be the same whether he is Sen. John McCain or Sen. Barack Obama.

“The time has come to start thinking of an Atlantic Agenda for Globalization,” Jose Manuel Barroso said in his seven-page letter that he read as part of a speech at Harvard University.

“From climate change to trade, from development to terrorism, these are challenges that require Europeans and Americans to agree on a new, multilateral agenda.”

Before he discussed his proposals for greater cooperation between the United States and the European Union, Mr. Barroso congratulated the next president on his victory and noted that his election marked the first time a sitting senator was elected since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

In another historic first, Mr. Barroso added, the victor is the first president born outside the continental United States. Mr. McCain was born on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, and Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.

Referring to the financial crisis in the United States, Mr. Barroso warned that economic panic could spread globally and even encourage terrorists to try to take advantage of the market meltdown.

“Turmoil in closely linked financial markets can undermine our economic progress,” he said. “Global pandemics can spread faster. Terrorists can more easily coordinate and carry out attack on our homelands. A lack of secure and sustainable energy could push us into a worldwide recession, and climate change, beyond its environmental consequences, could have serious geopolitical and social repercussions.”

He said the next U.S. president must build on the existing trans-Atlantic foundations, like NATO, the Trans-Atlantic Economic Council and other institutions.

The European Union has 27 member nations with a combined population of about 500 million. Jointly, the EU and the United States account for 40 percent of world trade and generate $4 trillion in annual commercial sales, he added.

Mr. Barroso, who heads the executive arm of the EU, referred to the need for “global governance” to help “solve the new types of challenges that the whole world now faces.”

“We should seize the opportunities and start writing our new Atlantic Agenda now,” he said.

WASHINGTON’S SLAVES

The deputy chief of mission at the British Embassy conceded Wednesday that his country has “much to be ashamed of” for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as he previewed a sculpture to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation on the Potomac River.

Britain was “involved in both the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and in bringing it to an end,” said Dominick Chilcott at a reception that also featured Sheila Coates, president of the Black Women United for Action, and Lucia Henderson, Washington vice regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.

“We have, therefore, much to be ashamed of, as well as to celebrate, in our history.”

Through the long campaign of William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament, Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and abolished slavery in the British Empire in 1833. Before those actions, British slave merchants transported an estimated 4 million Africans into slavery in North America and in the British Caribbean territories, Mr. Chilcott said.

The sculpture will be dedicated Saturday at 11 a.m. at Mount Vernon, where an estimated 300 of Washington’s slaves were buried.

cCall Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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