From: New Europe

By Elena Ralli

Cyber security and EU-US relations were among the issues raised at the last day of the Brussels Forum, an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and taking place between 15-17 March in Brussels.

Estonian President Toomas Ilves said that some countries are trying to turn cyber attacks to their advantage through compromising the freedom of speech on the Internet. However, he stressed that neither the EU nor the US are going to engage in such practices. In addition, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt clarified that cyber attacks have different sources, and therefore different approaches to fight them.

Moreover, in an earlier session on what Europe wants from the United States, Franco Frattini, justice and chamber president of the Italian Supreme Administrative Court, said “a stronger Europe is in the interest of the U.S.” He also explained that there are some areas where Europe should lead such as the Balkans, Mediterranean, and North Africa.

However, Pierre Vimont, executive secretary general of the European External Action Service, said there is a disconnection between the two sides of the Atlantic. As he stated: “Europe complains that the U.S. leadership is missing. And the Americans strike back to say that Europe should be more forthcoming.”

On the other hand, Latvian Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks stressed that the United States should not take Europe for granted.

Brussels Forum concluded with a conversation with Christopher A. Kojm, chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council. He spoke about the Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report and said that the middle class will continue to rise and the majority in the world will not be living in absolute poverty.

The Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders aiming to address the common challenges of both the EU and the US.