The EESC’s Transatlantic Relations Follow-up Committee met to discuss two current and timely topics with the aim of strengthening the EU-US partnership on a global scene, particularly important in the current challenging international context: the state of play of the transatlantic trade policy and the Year of Action between the two Summits for Democracy.
The EU, US and Canada share the values of democracy, human rights, economic and political freedom and have overlapping foreign policy and security concerns. The US and Canada are amongst the EU's main trade partners and also partners in shaping the international legal order. Transatlantic relations nowadays take place in a new environment and are facing growing challenges. We consider that civil society involvement in this relationship provides a guarantee that transatlantic relations are able respond to the public's expectations and effectively contribute to shaping mutually beneficial cooperation.
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement were signed on 30 October 2016. We will be looking for constant civil society involvement in the implementation of these agreements. Negotiations on an EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are presently at a standstill. However, the TTIP negotiations contributed to strengthening the links between the EU and US civil society and to defining civil society views on how the future trade relationship between the EU and US should look. These achievements should not be lost. Our Transatlantic Follow-up Committee was set up in September 2014 with a mandate to monitor transatlantic links with civil society, setting up regular dialogue and consultation on issues related to relations with the US and Canada.
With China and Russia on the offensive, a renewed and reliable transatlantic partnership is the key to maintaining international and legal order and peace. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) supports the idea of an Alliance of Democracies, ensuring that civil society has significant say in the joint defence of universal values and rights.
Through increased transatlantic dialogue, the Trade and Technology Council and the upcoming Summit for Democracy, the United States and the European Union have reached out to each other to jointly face global and internal challenges, and build a strong partnership on the basis of common democratic values.
Transatlantic relations remain strong and important even though they have recently had a very bad press. Business, both in the EU and the US, has a role to play in overcoming current difficulties. Together, we can effectively promote a positive transatlantic agenda and help to fight stereotypes and misinformation. These are just some of the conclusions of the debate with Susan Danger, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU. The debate took place during the Employers' Group meeting on 11 July 2018.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers' Group, added:
It is our responsibility to advocate for trade; we cannot take it for granted that people understand what the benefits ...
With discussions for TTIP now at a critical point, the EESC has published a new opinion, ‘The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the TTIP negotiations’. The own-initiative opinion assesses some key issues of the negotiations and identifies the main considerations for European civil society. This new ...