The EU in Focus: Why should the European Union matter to Americans?

Join Joseph H.H Weiler, President of the European University Institute, NYU Law school professor and former Harvard Law professor, as he demonstrates to Americans why the EU is important.


Weiler holds degrees from Sussex (B.A.); Cambridge (LL.B. and LL.M.); and The Hague Academy of International Law (Diploma of International Law). He earned his Ph.D. in European Law at the EUI, Florence. He is recipient of Doctorates Honoris Causa from London University, from Sussex University, from the University of Macerata, Italy and from the University of Edinburgh and is Honorary Member of the Senate of the University of Ljubljana.

Through his long international career and diverse global relationship with institutes and universities, Weiler can communicate with students and explain the significance of the EU and US relationship.

Take the time get some questions answered. Get a chance to dive into the mind of an international scholar who is familiar with the EU system.

Not only does the EU have the world’s largest GDP, it also has the world’s third largest population and is amongst the highest ranking in the world for education and living conditions. All those factors are crucial to the global economy which does affect the United States.

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As shown above, the population and the GDP of the European Union was much higher than of the United States’ in 2011 according to the World Bank. A 2013 report known as the EU Focus which was published by the Delegation of the European Union to the United States illustrated the economic relationship between the two nations. The report goes on to explain how interconnected the EU and the U.S. in regards to foreign direct investments.

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The United States has a consistent FDI to the EU each year while the EU’s FDI to the US is far greater at an average of 63% total U.S FDI. Former European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, even stated that “Europe and the United States are extremely connected. We are still the most integrated economies in the world, among the major players ,and we remain at the heart of the world economy.”

LPL Financial, a organization that works with financial advisors wrote an article, Europe: Key Readings, Data are Beginning to Show Improvement, where the European Union is compared to the United States. Apparently, the U.S. is much more dependent on the consumer component for their economy which reached 68% of the total GDP in 2013 (as shown below).
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United States and European Union GDP

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Source: World Bank


Why does the EU Matter?

We return to this question, but only closer to the answer. Primarily, the issues the European Union faces such as immigration, common currency and economic regulations all are matters that will ultimately affect other countries. It is clear that the economic relationship between the United States and the EU is of an huge importance to both countries. In the economic spectrum they are dependent on one another. There have been a variety of American experts who are pleased with the idea that the EU should remain subordinate to the United States. Lawrence J. Haas who is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, for example stated “Europe has a very important role to play under the umbrella of U.S. leadership.” However, after evaluating the strategic importance in terms of foreign affairs and their policies, it becomes much less clear how the EU matters. While the United States continues to have a special relationship with the United Kingdom, the European Union has only shown how divided they are when it comes to making decisions on foreign affairs. For that reason, the EU steps back on making strong decisions and participating in world crisis. So why should they matter? Is the only connection between the EU and the US based on their economies?

Come and attend this event with Professor Weiler and have these and your questions answered!



Haas, Lawrence J. “State of Europe Pre-summit Viewpoint: Europe Can Matter More in Global Affairs.” Europe’s World. N.p., 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.

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