Secretary Clinton Engages Young Europeans in Town Hall Meeting

Posted by Dana Francis
March 6, 2009
Secretary Clinton at Town Hall in Brussels

About the Author: Dana Francis serves as the Political and Refugee Affairs Officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.Related Entry:Watch video of young Europeans' reactions to the Secretary's visit.

Secretary Clinton engaged hundreds of young Europeans in a Town Hall meeting March 6 in Brussels, calling modern Europe a “miracle” of peace and prosperity and citing the European Union as a key U.S. partner in facing global challenges. The European Parliament hosted the event for the next generation of potential European leaders, several hundred of whom packed the main room while some 800 others watched a video link in nearby auditoriums. Clinton walked about the stage responding to questions ranging from how to engage Russia to how to fight terrorism. The young EU officials eagerly asked about key challenges, including climate change, a state for Palestinians, and genocide in Darfur. A Moldovan man sitting in the front row wearing an “I Love Hillary” T-shirt seemed delighted when the Secretary called on him to ask a question, which concerned gay and lesbian rights and increased funding for HIV/AIDS. Secretary Clinton drew laughter from the crowd when she ducked a Welch questioner’s inquiry regarding independence for Wales, Scotland and Catalonia, saying she would not interfere in the internal affairs of any state. When asked by an Irish questioner whether the complexity of the EU was a barrier to good transatlantic relations, Clinton said democracy is by definition complex and contains inherent tensions between the need for efficient decision-making and the need for consensus-building. Running behind schedule, Clinton seemed reluctant to end the discussion and wanted to answer “just one more question” before she had to leave for a working lunch with EU leaders.

Comments

Comments

Anne
|
Wyoming, USA
March 6, 2009

Anne in Wyoming writes:

I am so pleased with the way that Secretary Clinton is handling her trip abroad, and the direction of diplomacy that our government is returning to.

Wendy
|
California, USA
March 7, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

Dear Ms. Francis,

What an event! It would be handy if SecState Clinton could exist on zero sleep instead of almost zero sleep because then we could send her to every country to do townhall meetings with fabulous young folk like these EveryWhere. Just looking at the picture makes me feel utter confidence in the Future of EarthVuravuraJeegoo. The glowing faces say it all about smart hope and ingenuity.

Just a teensy diplomatic suggestion. The New York Times has a smart policy. They always and each time refer to any person in an article by Secretary Clinton, Mr. or Mrs. Jones, and so on. (Not in the headlines, just in the text. This gives a feeling of respect towards all people even when the particular subject is a scoundrel.) So, say, in the third sentence of your very interesting post, you might have said, "The Secretary etc" or said "Secretary Clinton" again.

Thank you so much for the details you shared.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
March 7, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Not to be negative, in fact the opposite, but yesterday at the DoS briefing, there was minimal clarity as to some of the same issues asked.

That being the case, what then were the responses to these questions by The Secretary of State? Is there a posting of the responses?

The world seems to have a lot of hope in America as the central responder to problems, yet Russia, India and China have more latitude and leverage, regardless of the economic state of each country. As America pulls out of this economic situation, their status will recover and proceed to grow as will their power in the overall picture.

Europe will have to respond more to Russia economically than any other group of countries, due to energy alone?

What I am getting at: Is this all false hope for change via transition, or is something actually going to change. It seems America has to make allies with Russia in some manner or other, like it or not while staying out of their countries affairs or, we will fail.

Where are the answers? The questions are easy and I do feel, without America, world democracy may well fail.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- Joe, here's what your looking for: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/03/120111.htm

Time will tell about the rest of your questions I think.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
March 9, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Yesterday at the NATO ministerial, we adopted a proposal to re-energize the NATO-Russia Council as a forum for discussion of matters that we agree with and matters we don't agree with Russia. We think there are a number of areas where there can be cooperation. This young woman mentioned one, terrorism -- which has an impact obviously -- across Europe and into Russia; nonproliferation, which is an area that the United States and Russia will be working on together over the next years.

Why then the build up in arms trade to 1.8 trillion this year? Up from 800 billion last year?

12:27 Russia invites U.S. to take into account its capabilities in missiledefense area (Part 2)

12:18 Russia's package proposals on missile defense remains on table - Lavrov (Part 2) included is the Iran problem, which they say is not realted.

I am impressed with the amt. of knowledge Mrs. Clinton has...but, hope she does not let her her defense down and looks at the overall picture...If Russia is not going to promote war, then why increse arms sales?

.

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