''An Ever Closer Union''

European Integration and its Implications for the Future of U.S.-European Relations

by James Steinberg

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This report examines the process of European integration and assesses its implications for U.S. policy. The study finds that changes in the European Community (EC) will be evolutionary, with the economic and financial dimension moving more quickly and the foreign policy and defense dimension moving more slowly. It also concludes that U.S. influence over European policy will diminish as Europeans become more preoccupied with developing intra-EC consensus, that conflicts in the economic realm will continue and could worsen if the United States and the EC move away from an open trading and financial system to a bloc economic approach, and that NATO will play a diminished role in transatlantic policy consultation and coordination, but will remain an important element of the European security structure. The document recommends that the United States adopt a policy of supporting the general thrust of the integrative process, develop more extensive bilateral working relationships with EC institutions on both economic and security policy, support NATO reform to enhance the complementarity of the EC and NATO, and advocate broadening the EC to include Central European and East European countries.

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