Rep. Oberstar's office explains trip to Parisby Laura McCallum, Minnesota Public Radio
U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, a DFLer who represents Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, took a trip to Paris, France and Stuttgart, Germany in Feb. 20-26, 2005, sponsored by the International Management and Development Institute. His office responded to questions about that trip via e-mail. Here are some excerpts.
St. Paul, Minn. — Rep. Oberstar's communications director, Mary Kerr, explained the purpose of the trip.
"That was a trip with the Congressional French Caucus, which Congressman Oberstar co-chairs (he is apparently the only Member besides John Kerry who speaks fluent French). The International Management and Development Institute (IMDI) partnered with the French-American Foundation to do three days in Paris and three days in Stuttgart.
"On Feb. 20, 2005, Members left DC for Paris, and they left Paris for Stuttgart on Feb. 23. The Stuttgart meetings ended too late in the day on Friday Feb. 25 to catch a flight to the U.S., so they returned the next morning to DC.
"The topic of the first roundtable discussion with French legislators was "Creative Approaches in French-American Relations: Rediscovering its Strengths." The topic of the second roundtable discussion was "French Industries and the Challenge of a Global Economy."
"They also met with the U.S. Ambassador to France and the Mayor of Paris.
"Congressman Oberstar spoke at a meeting with MEDEF -- Mouvement des Entreprises de France -- which is the largest union of employers in France.
"In Stuttgart, they had a briefing from General Wald, Deputy Commander U.S.-European Command. They visited the Mercedes Technology Center and met with representatives from Daimler-Chrysler. They also met with representatives from the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
"They had a roundtable on the 109th Congress, and its priorities and expectations. Another roundtable was about Transatlantic marketplace and visions for further economic integration. The third roundtable was on Transatlantic security cooperation. There was also a discussion on U.S. elections/new EU Commission and the impact on transatlantic relations."