A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to Europe’s youth at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels during the EU-U.S. Summit.
As President Obama noted, following World War II, the U.S. “embraced a shared vision of Europe — a vision based on representative democracy, individual rights, and a belief that nations can meet the interests of their citizens through trade and open markets; a social safety net and respect for those of different faiths and backgrounds.”
More than 60 years later, the trans-Atlantic partnership has remained strong and our ideals have become a model for the global community. The trans-Atlantic economy is the largest and wealthiest in the world. As we look to the future, it’s important not to lose sight of the need to further strengthen the social and economic ties that bind us.
Today, technology is revolutionising every industry and impacting economies on both sides of the Atlantic and we need interoperable policy frameworks that promote the digital market. Taking full advantage of new technologies will make us all more productive and more inclusive while at the same time advancing economic and social policy objectives important to the EU and U.S.
In their joint statement, the EU and U.S. stated their commitment to:
- Trade: Concluding a comprehensive and ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will strengthen an economic partnership that already accounts for nearly half of global output and supports three-quarters of a trillion euros in bilateral trade, and almost 3 trillion euros in investment, and 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Cross Border Data Flows: The transatlantic digital economy is integral to our economic growth, trade and innovation and that cross border data flows are critical to our economic vitality.
- Privacy and data protection: Promoting data protection, privacy and free speech in the digital era while ensuring the security of our citizens. This is essential for trust in the online environment.
- Multi-Stakeholder Model: A universal, open, free, secure, and reliable Internet, based on an inclusive, effective, and transparent multi-stakeholder model of governance.
- Cybercrime: Launching a comprehensive EU-U.S. cyber dialogue to strengthen and further our cooperation including on various cyber-related foreign policy issues – built on past achievements and guided by shared values.
Both the EU and U.S. believe in open economies based on free markets and innovation. Similarly, both the EU and the U.S. believe in privacy and data protection to promote trust in the online environment. We agree with what Commissioner Neelie Kroes recently said perfectly: “No to data protectionism; Yes to data protection.” And, there’s no question that innovation fosters economic growth. While we have key global challenges in front of us, we should remember the progress made so far and the focus on investing in innovative technology that has been a special hallmark of growth in the trans-Atlantic economy.