The Future of the United States and Europe: An Irreplaceable Partnership

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details April 2018
Publication Date April 2018
ISBN 978-1-78413-249-1
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+ The partnership between the United States and Europe had been an anchor of the world’s economic, political and security order for more than seven decades, but it should not take it for granted. The transatlantic relationship faced many dangers. However, the issues that bring the two sides together ultimately carry much greater weight than those that might divide them.

+ The US and the EU had notably different perceptions and interests, the navigation of which required nuanced diplomacy. Although each side brought different ideas and experiences to the table, numerous areas of actual and potential collaboration could be identified. The rules-based international order benefited both the US and the EU, and it urgently needed their collaborative support.

+ The US and the EU remained leaders of the world economy. How they approached issues of international trade and investment affected not only their own economic relationship but the global economy as well. The Trump administration’s combination of a more protectionist message, a willingness to veer away from the previous administration’s stance on multilateral negotiations, and a hard-line approach to trade disputes created uncertainty over the future of the transatlantic economy. However, there was scope for transatlantic cooperation in areas such as services, the digital economy and jointly tackling unfair trade practices by other countries.

+ The US and the EU had different approaches to privacy, data protection and the technology industry. While the US favoured a more sectoral approach that relied on a combination of legislation, regulation and self-regulation, the EU tended to rely more heavily on legislation. This complicated the relationship. However, the two sides shared the goal of allowing data to flow between Europe and the US while ensuring a high level of protection for their respective citizens’ privacy and personal data. A key task for EU officials wwould be to keep their US counterparts informed about the implementation of the new General Data Protection Regulation.

+ The US and Europe faced many of the same challenges in fighting terrorism and other serious crimes. The Trump administration had made clear its intention to act more forcefully in this area. While EU–US cooperation in law enforcement and counterterrorism had been a fruitful aspect of transatlantic relations for years, the EU’s new capacities made it a more valuable law enforcement and counterterrorism partner for the US than ever before.

+ The Trump administration had focused at the political level on promoting increased European defence spending, as well as on increasing NATO’s role in counterterrorism efforts. Although President Donald Trump had abandoned the stance that NATO was obsolete, there remained suggestions that the US could moderate its commitment to defending NATO members in the future if they did not shoulder a greater share of the financial burden.

+ It was not surprising that European leaders would want to simultaneously strengthen their contributions to NATO defence and build European defence capabilities. In focusing primarily on peacekeeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security, the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy complemented and supported NATO’s mandate for European and transatlantic security.

+ EU–US foreign policy coordination on third-country and regional situations was an essential part of transatlantic efforts to shape the global political environment. The coordination of US and EU sanctions policies against third countries such as Iran, Russia, Syria, North Korea and, most recently, Venezuela had played an increasing role in EU–US foreign policy. However, there are areas of potential divergence, particularly around Iran and its nuclear deal, which could lead to major rifts between the EU and the US.Chatham House published a report called The Future of the United States and Europe: An Irreplaceable Partnership in April 2018. The report concluded that how the EU responded to the Trump administration in the United States would be the hallmark of how it saw its role in the world, and how successful it would be in promoting its worldview.

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LSE European Institute: EuroppBlog, 12.06.18: Colliding worlds: Donald Trump and the European Union

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