Transatlantic Relations

In some dimensions, transatlantic diplomatic relations have been improving over the past few months. Yet in others they are clearly not. Bush’s nomination of Wolfowitz last week to head the World Bank prompted a rather cool response from Europe — in fact, EU finance ministers will discuss the nomination at their summit in Luxembourg this week. And to potentially complicate matters, it now seems that the US and EU will be filing yet another set of suits against each other with the WTO:

LONDON (MarketWatch) – Tensions between the United States and the European Union over subsidies for rival aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus escalated over the weekend as both sides resumed threats to launch a legal battle at the World Trade Organization.

“If the US decides to move to the WTO approach, which we hope they will not, obviously we would launch our own counter case,” said a European Commission official, speaking on condition of anonymity, AFX News reported.

Talks between the U.S. and the EU to resolve the dispute hit an impasse Friday, according to the U.S. trade representative’s office.

Trade disputes between the US and EU have simmered for years, generally without spilling over into other areas of policy. But this time, I wonder; the big players in the EU don’t seem to be quite ready to block the nomination outright right now… but some in the EU might be quite happy to use the WTO suit as a good way to push the EU a bit closer to doing so.