Frances Burwell

  • Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe

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    In an age of transatlantic tensions over the Iran deal, trade balances, and steel tariffs, digital policy is uniquely poised to offer opportunities for greater US-EU cooperation. At the same time, the digital arena also has the potential to be a policy minefield, with issues such as privacy, digital taxation, and competition policy still unresolved. Making America First in the Digital Economy: The Case for Engaging Europe addresses these challenges and explores how the US-EU digital agenda fits in the larger transatlantic relationship.

     


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  • From Steel Tariffs to an Awesome Trade Deal

    US President Donald J. Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States has been a significant blow to the US-European Union (EU) economic partnership, but this episode also offers a real opportunity.

    Though the EU has been exempted from penalties until May 1, the mere prospect of future tariffs has caused considerable angst in Europe and in transatlantic business circles. However, the Trump administration clearly expects countries to bargain for a continuation of exemptions. As part of a deal to make the exemption permanent, the EU and the United States should enter into new negotiations for a free trade agreement that will respond to the economic concerns of the Trump administration while also providing the EU with some important gains.

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  • Emmanuel Macron: The Trump Whisperer?

    French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television interview on April 15 that he convinced US President Donald J. Trump not to withdraw troops from Syria.

    “Ten days ago, President Trump was saying ‘the United States should withdraw from Syria.’ We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term,” Macron said in the TV interview.

    Macron said that he had also persuaded Trump “that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons [sites], after things got a little carried away over tweets.” He has since tried to walk back those comments.

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  • Angela Merkel: Time for a Legacy

    Now that the new German government has been approved by the political parties and can finally begin work, it is time for Angela Merkel to think about her own agenda for the next few years.

    At the start of her fourth—and presumably last—term as chancellor, she is politically weaker than she has been before, and thus must save her energy and influence for a few key issues. Merkel should never be underestimated—she is a survivor and could yet see reinvigorated public support and renewed political power. But the logical choice right now is for her to focus on issues that will build her legacy in Germany, in Europe, and in the world, including the transatlantic partnership.

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  • Burwell Quoted in U.S. News & World Report on How Brexit Will Impact Investors


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  • The Importance of Being Angela Merkel

    Chancellor is vital for European solidarity on Russia sanctions, says Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell

    If German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to step down from her role it would create uncertainty over the fate of sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, according to Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “There is one area where her absence would make a great deal of difference potentially and that is on the sanctions on Russia,” said Burwell.

    “With the British leaving [the European Union] and her leaving—if she should leave—that makes the continued adherence to these sanctions less certain. Depending on what happens in the Italian elections, those sanctions could be vulnerable indeed,” she added.  

    Moreover, Burwell noted, instability in Germany would be a blow for the European Union (EU), which is grappling with the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the Union and the eurozone crisis.

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  • Spain's Crisis Sharpens

    The crisis in Spain dramatically escalated on October 27 with Catalonia’s regional parliament declaring independence and the Spanish Senate responding with the approval of unprecedented powers for Madrid to seize control of the autonomous region.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called an emergency cabinet meeting and could fire Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his ministers—he now has the power to do so under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution. Under these circumstances, the Spanish government would take control of Catalonia’s finances, police, and publicly owned media.

    “The question is going to be: how does the Spanish government implement Article 155 in the wake of the declaration of independence,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

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  • Another Independence Referendum in Catalonia?

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on October 21 announced his government’s intention to remove the leaders of Catalonia’s regional government and called for elections to be held as soon as possible.

    “By deciding to hold elections in Catalonia, the Spanish government is essentially calling a repeat referendum on independence in an extremely polarized situation,” said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council.

    “Whether that election will have any credibility—despite its legality—will depend on which parties participate, whether activists are released from jail, and whether the true costs of independence—which will be severe—can be debated in a rational manner,” she added.

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  • In Catalonia, a ‘Coup d’État Masquerading as a Referendum’

    Catalonia’s illegal independence referendum has thrown Spain into turmoil.

    In light of the escalating tensions, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is now toying with the idea of invoking the never-before-used Article 155 of the Spanish constitution that would suspend Catalonia’s regional autonomy. With a view to taking such action, Rajoy on October 11 asked the region’s leaders whether they had formally declared independence from Spain.

    The confusion stems from the words and actions of Catalonia’s leaders. On October 10, Carles Puigdemont, president of the government of Catalonia, signed a declaration of independence. Further, in a speech to the Catalan parliament Puigdemont declared independence from Spain; he then held back to allow talks with the government in Madrid.

    How did Spain get to this point?

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  • Burrows and Burwell Quoted in World Economic Forum on the Future of Europe


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