Where are the transatlantic relations heading after the US elections?

invitation only · Webinar · 10.11.2020 16:00 - 17:30

invitation only

After seventy years of broad solidarity in the United States for the transatlantic relationship, it has become evident that friction is mounting on both sides of the Atlantic. While the United States remains committed to European security through NATO and considers Europeans as its allies, US grand strategy and global engagement are increasingly focused on the rise of China. At the same time, European leaders have expressed concerns that the United States’ interest in Europe is declining. As the transatlantic relationship is undergoing a period of change, the US presidential elections of 2020 represent a critical opportunity for both sides. To ensure the strength of the relationship for the next seventy years, the policies and discourse in the transatlantic space need to properly reflect the needs of both Europe
and the United States.


Opening remarks

Kai Sauer

Under-Secretary of State, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Kai Sauer is the Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Security Policy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Previously, he has worked as Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN in New York (2014-2019) and as Ambassador of Finland to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and ASEAN (2010-2014). Mr Sauer has also served as Director at the Unit for UN Affairs of the MFA, as Senior Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary General, President Martti Ahtisaari in UNOSEK and as Director of the Unit for the Western Balkans of the MFA. He holds a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Tampere and a Doctorate of Humane Letters (h.c.), Northland College, Wisconsin.


Frank G. Wisner

Foreign Affairs Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs. Former US Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines and India and former US Under Secretary of Defense

Frank G. Wisner works as Foreign Affairs Advisor at Squire Patton Boggs in Washington D.C. He served as ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India during his extensive career in the State Department. In addition to his role as ambassador to four countries, he has served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and as Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs. Ambassador Wisner was senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs from 1982 to 1986. Before joining Squire Patton Boggs, Ambassador Wisner served as Vice Chairman of External Affairs for American International Group. He is member of the board for several foundations and universities f. ex. Chairman for the International Advisory Council at the American University of Beirut, in the Board of Director at the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and also in the Board of Directors at the Business Council on International Understanding.


Jaakko Iloniemi


Minister Jaakko Iloniemi is a Finnish diplomat and Honorary Chair of Atlantic Council of Finland. Minister Iloniemi has fifty years of experience in Finnish and international issues and thus is a central figure in Finnish politics. Iloniemi holds an extensive experience from the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs where he has worked for example as the head of international development aid and as an ambassador to OCSE in Geneva and the United States. He has also worked as the CEO of Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA. Iloniemi holds a honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki.

Closing remarks:

Piritta Asunmaa

Director General, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Piritta Asunmaa is the Director General for the Department for Americas and Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Previously she was the Ambassador of Finland to NATO. She has also been the Representative of Finland to the EU’s Political and Security Committee, 2011-2015. Asunmaa has served as the Deputy Director General at the Department for Communications and Culture at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. She has also worked in the Finnish Embassy in Washington and in Paris.


Mika Aaltola

Director; Editor in chief, Ulkopolitiikka (Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs)

US domestic and foreign affairs, great power relations, Finnish foreign and security policy, global governance