Frances Burwell

  • Duda’s Veto Presents Poland with an Opportunity

    Warsaw must focus on repairing ties with the European Union, said Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    Polish President Andrzej Duda’s decision to veto controversial judicial reforms gives Poland—the scene of creeping authoritarianism—an opportunity to mend its relationship with the European Union (EU). It also represents a significant split between the president and Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and a man to whom Duda owes much of his political career.

    On July 24, Duda vetoed two of three controversial judicial reforms approved by parliament. These include replacing supreme court judges with government nominees.

    “[Duda’s decision] gives Poland the opportunity to walk back from the brink with the European Union,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative.

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  • Burwell in The Hill: German Trade Surplus with US Far More Complex Than Trump Makes It


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  • Charting a Path to a More Secure EU

    Political developments in Europe leading up to, and in the wake of last year’s Brexit referendum show that the path toward a more secure future for the European Union (EU) cannot rely on traditional political structures, a reality demonstrated by the campaign and election of French President Emmanuel Macron, according to a political analyst.

    “The traditional right-left divide as it has structured democracies is obsolete,” Benjamin Haddad, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, said at the Atlantic Council. He said that Macron saw the developments in Western democracy, driven by populist impulses, and by appealing to the growing political center rode the anti-establishment wave to the Élysée Palace on May 7.

    That same popular discontent with existing political structures is “something that [US President Donald J.] Trump saw as well,” said Haddad. However, he added, “Macron did the opposite of Trump.”

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  • Theresa May’s Failed Election Gamble

    British Prime Minister Theresa May made a gamble when she decided to call early elections with the hope of shoring up political support ahead of difficult Brexit negotiations. That gamble did not pay off.

    May’s Conservative Party, while still the largest in Parliament following the June 8 election, failed to secure the 326 seats necessary to hold an absolute majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives now have 318 seats, down from the 330 seats they had before the election. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party increased its number of seats from 229 to 261. As a result, the United Kingdom now has a hung Parliament.

    This outcome raises many questions, including about the negotiations on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (EU), set to start on June 19, and May’s own political future.

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  • Burwell Joins Bloomberg to Discuss the Results of the Opening Round of the French Presidential Elections


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  • The Brexit Election

    British Prime Minister Theresa May’s surprise decision to call for a snap general election is a powerful admission by her government that Brexit will not be an easy process.  The next United Kingdom (UK) general election had been scheduled for May 2020, a date that would force May to campaign just as all the disadvantages of Brexit become clear. On April 18, May called for the election to be moved up to June 8, 2017. With five years allowed between elections, and assuming she wins the contest in June , the prime minister will have an additional two years—until spring 2022—to get through a difficult post-Brexit “transitional” phase before facing the voters again.

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  • Is Brexit Good for the EU?

    The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) has strengthened solidarity among the bloc’s other twenty-seven member states, David O’Sullivan, the EU’s ambassador to the United States, said at the Atlantic Council on March 29.

    “The debate around Brexit has strengthened support for the European Union elsewhere around Europe,” according to O’Sullivan. “If anything, it has joined the rest of us more closely together.”

    On March 29, British Prime Minister Theresa May officially triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty beginning the process of taking the United Kingdom (UK) out of the EU.

    O’Sullivan said that the prospects of Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU, triggering a domino effect among other European nations is “most unlikely.” While populist forces in other countries with upcoming elections—such as France and Germany—seek to capitalize on the challenges facing the Union and introduce division, O’Sullivan asserted, “I remain remarkably optimistic about the future of Europe, the future of the European Union.”

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  • Europe in 2022: Alternative Futures

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    Sixty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, Europe faces its greatest challenges, and possibly its sharpest turning point, since World War II. The spectrum of possible futures for Europe is wide, encompassing everything from rebirth to disintegration. But, a strong leap toward greater EU-wide integration—as was sometimes the outcome of earlier crises—seems unlikely at best. Instead, this seems a time for smaller steps toward more integration, most likely in response to specific challenges, including: stronger external border controls; enhanced eurozone governance; or a more capable Common Security and Defense Policy. If the positive option is modest integration, the alternative future is one dominated by a clear break with past integration. A presidential victory in May by France’s Marine Le Pen could splinter the European Union, sending it into a tailspin toward disintegration. Even if this dire forecast is avoided, Europe—and especially the European Union (EU)—will face challenges that push it into entirely new directions. If the United States withdraws from Europe, for example, will Europe be forced to accommodate Russian demands? Or will that challenge foster stronger security cooperation among a core set of nations, to counterbalance a weakening NATO? And if Europe’s economy continues on a slow-growth path, will it be able to afford to respond to the challenges it faces?

     

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  • Burwell Quoted by CBS News on Trade and Recent Meeting Between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel


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  • Merkel Puts Europe First

    German chancellor’s visit to Washington puts focus on US-German, US-European relationships, says Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a tough re-election battle in September and a meeting with US President Donald J. Trump is perhaps not the best way for her to burnish her credentials with the German electorate. The fact that she is making the trip across the Atlantic is an indicator of her determination to shore up the US-German and US-European relationships that have been buffeted by often controversial rhetoric from Trump.

    “If she were looking at this from a purely electoral calculation, she may not have even done this visit because no one in Germany wants to see her necessarily being close to President Trump,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    Making the point that the visit is more about the US-German and the US-European relationships, she added: “She is coming not only as the chancellor of Germany, but as the leader of Europe.”

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