A form of transatlantic free trade area was proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the 1990s and again in 2006 in response to the collapse of the Doha global trade negotiations. However, protectionism on both sides can be an obstacle to future agreements.   It was first launched in 1990, when, shortly after the end of the Cold War, the world was no longer divided into two blocs: the European Community (12 countries) and the United States a “transatlantic declaration”. This necessitated the sustainability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as annual summits, semi-annual meetings between ministers of state and more frequent meetings between politicians and senior officials. The following initiatives by European policy makers and the US government were: 1995, the creation of a business interest group, the Transatlantic Trade Dialogue (TABD) by authorities on both sides of the Atlantic; 1998, the creation of an advisory committee, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership; The Transatlantic Economic Council was established in 2007, bringing together business representatives from both sides of the Atlantic to advise the European Commission and the US government – and finally, in 2011, the creation of a high-level panel of experts whose conclusions, presented on 11 February 2013, recommended the opening of negotiations for a large-scale free trade agreement. On February 12, 2013, in his annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for such an agreement.  The next day, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, announced discussions on negotiating the agreement.  In an article in the Wall Street Journal, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Siemens AG (which employs 70% in Europe and 30% in the United States) said that TTIP would strengthen the global competitiveness of the United States and the EU by removing trade barriers, improving intellectual property protection and establishing new international “road rules”.  The EU Presidency is alternating, with each member state chairing EU meetings for six months and representing the EU at international events.