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Central, Eastern European Leaders Acknowledge 'Storm Clouds, Nervousness'


Central and Eastern European leaders hope U.S. President Barack Obama reads his mail this week.

Central and Eastern European leaders hope U.S. President Barack Obama reads his mail this week.

More than 20 Central and Eastern European leaders and intellectuals have written an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, saying "all is not well" in the the region nor in the vital trans-Atlantic relationship.

The letter was published in the Polish newspaper "Gazeta Wyborcza" on July 16.

"Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region," the letter reads. "The global economic crisis is impacting on our region and, as elsewhere, runs the risk that our societies will look inward and be less engaged with the outside world. At the same time, storm clouds are starting to gather on the foreign policy horizon."

The letter notes that Central and Eastern European countries are no longer at the heart of American foreign policy, that NATO seems weaker today than when these same countries joined the alliance, that Washington's popularity and influence is waning, and it laments the return of Russia as a "revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods."

It argues that both the United States and Europe should "reinvest" in the trans-Atlantic relationship and "reconnect around a new and forward-looking agenda."

The full text of the letter can be read here.

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