Thank you to all who attended yet another successful E-Talk-About Event. It was a pleasure hosting Former White House Special Advisor and Senior Foreign Service Officer, Molly Montgomery, in partnership with SDSU Center for Advancing Global Business. In regards the Covid-19 crisis, Montgomery explained that European countries, particularly in Western Europe where it has hit the hardest, have generally been in much stricter lockdown than the U.S. and in some cases for well over a month. The Head of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control believes the European Union is past its peak and although a lot of businesses have started reopening, its first phases includes business that have stayed open in the U.S. Montgomery discussed that the EU has put together an exit strategy for member states, saying that, “the three principles they’ve asked countries to base their reopening plans on are epidemiological criteria, sufficient health system capacity and sufficient monitoring capacity.” On the other hand, countries like Russia and Belarus, who denied the presence of cases for weeks, are now being faced with the consequences. Montgomery states, “in Russia there are 165,000 cases. It’s growing incredibly quickly and we are seeing the health system starting to really be overwhelmed, as well as government efforts to clamp down on how bad the situation really is there.”As far as the effects Covid-19 has had on Brexit, she explained that negotiating a trade agreement in one year was already going to be difficult, and now negotiators cannot meet in person. “So far the UK has been unwilling to request an extension and has said that if they are unable to reach a deal with the EU that they will just revert to WTO trading rules at the end of this year,” Montgomery said. Concerning EU and U.S. relations, Montgomery explored the U.S.’s recent announcement that the Ambassador to Belgium will be dual hatted as the Ambassador to EU. She believes that this poses some difficulties and sends a signal to the EU that there is a demotion of the relationship because we are not sending someone who is devoted to the full-time task.
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