One year into Donald Trump’s presidency, the question of how US foreign policy will further develop remains unanswered. His “America First” slogan, his comments on US alliance commitments, his suspicion of free trade, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement or the constant rhetorical questioning of the commonly negotiated Iran Nuclear Deal have caused some tension in the transatlantic relationship.
Nevertheless, the transatlantic partners continue to share vital interests and face common threats. These threats, whether they are security-related, economic or other, are so numerous and diverse that neither the United States nor the European Union can adequately address them alone. Thus, we have to continue building upon the strong foundation of our common values and shared principles and find ways to strengthen our relationship in order to respond effectively together. The EU and the US are each other’s most important partners. A strong transatlantic bond is crucial for us and for the world.
The European Union and the United States enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world. Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia. EU investment in the US is eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together. Our economic ties are an important driver for the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs. This connection also defines the shape of the global economy as a whole. The EU and the US economies account together for about half of world GDP and for nearly a third of global trade flows. Based on this strong foundation, we should explore ways to further deepen EU-US trade and investment relations, taking into account the common ground reached during the TTIP negotiations. Our rules-based, open, and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system plays a crucial role in promoting global economic growth and sustainable development. If we want to ensure a better future for our citizens, we should deliver the necessary conditions to strengthen economic growth and create jobs.
The transatlantic partnership in security
Unfortunately, 2018 will most likely not be more tranquil than previous years. We can expect a wide range of common threats and challenges. Both sides of the Atlantic should remain fully committed to our security and strategic partnership. The US and the EU are at their greatest when our partnership is strong. Most of the threats we face, such as terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, climate change and energy insecurity are global threats and need a multilateral approach to be tackled effectively. Hence, it is a very positive signal that the European Union is strengthening its common defence, notably through the new European Defence Fund, which will supplement, amplify and enhance national investments in defence research and new capabilities, and through the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which will enable Member States jointly to develop their defence capabilities and invest in shared projects. Furthermore, the US Congress just approved $4.6 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative in the 2018 federal budget, showing a strong commitment to our bond.
The challenges the world is facing can no longer be tackled unilaterally. History has shown that when we are united, we succeed in the face of obstacles. From the aggressive and irresponsible provocations of the regime in North Korea, which threatens not only regional, but also global peace and security, to the lasting wars in Syria as well as in Yemen, which have become humanitarian emergencies of catastrophic proportions, to the ongoing illegal actions of Russia, which violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine – we have to speak with one voice so that peace and freedom may become permanent.
The long-lasting bond between the US and the EU is based on respect for common values, international law and the idea of multilateralism.
This has led to prosperity and security, from which people on both sides of the Atlantic have benefitted. In a changing world full of challenges, we have to adapt. There is need to further strengthen and deepen the transatlantic relationship. We should continue to work towards increased cooperation on security issues, as well as cooperate more closely on creating economic growth and therefore jobs, alongside fostering a closer political dialogue in the spirit of enriching our valuable partnership.