Following the US election, the EESC’s Follow-up Committee on Transatlantic Relations met on 15 December in a bid to re-establish a strong partnership with US civil society.
With a new US presidency about to begin, the EU and the US now have a unique opportunity, after the major setbacks of recent years, to renew their partnership and friendship based on joint democratic values, a shared history and common interests.
In a bid to relaunch civil society dialogue, the EESC’s Follow-up Committee on Transatlantic Relations met on 15 December, joined virtually by MEP Radosław Sikorski and US Congressman William Hurd.
Mr Sikorski stressed the crucial role of people-to-people contacts and more robust civil society cooperation in line with the new transatlantic agenda. “Policy differences between the EU and the USA have not disappeared, but goodwill, an equal footing and trust are a good start”, he said.
Mr Hurd warmly supported transatlantic dialogue: “America leading is not America alone. We have to show capacity to build alliances”. He stressed that it was imperative for the EU and the US to cooperate in the face of China’s growing international assertiveness.
Peter Chase, senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, pointed out that an ambitious strategy is crucial for transatlantic economic relations: “a powerful economy will ‘feed’ civil society, think tanks, businesses and investments”.
Matthias Jørgensen from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, presented the Commission’s new transatlantic agenda, inviting the US to join the fight for a healthier, safer, prosperous and more democratic world after COVID-19, and working together on the protection of the planet, technology, trade and standards.
Garrett Workman, senior director for European affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, commented that “trade is the basis to reset a lot of wrongs done by US policy during the last few years”.
The EESC also presented “Building bridges across the Atlantic”, an ambitious project which highlights the role of civil society and the importance of its impact on the renewed transatlantic partnership. The project aims to connect people and their activities and make liberal voices heard on both sides of the Atlantic at a time when finding common ground and identifying solutions are more important than ever. (at)