EESK atzinums: A strong transatlantic partnership based on the common values of democracy and the rule of law, key in tackling global challenges and preserving international order (own-initiative opinion)
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) considers that an international order where the rule of law rather than the rule of the strongest prevails is inextricably linked to democracy and the rule of law. Similarly, democracy and the rule of law are not possible without the involvement of a pluralistic, independent and vibrant civil society.
The EESC regretfully notes that within the EU, the democratic foundation of some Member States has become more fragile. Moreover, the geopolitical changes over the past two decades have caused serious harm to the multilateral international order and significantly weakened key international organisations. China in particular, but also Russia and Turkey, pose particular challenges that Europe can only face through a renewed transatlantic partnership, while conversely the USA also depends on its democratic allies in the world, in particular on Europe.
The EESC supports the idea of an Alliance of Democracies and recognises, in a spirit of self-criticism, that a greater commitment to defending universal values and rights is urgently needed. Together, the EU and the US should be an anchor for democracy, peace and security around the world, the rule of law, and human rights for all.
The hasty withdrawal of US armed forces and their allies from Afghanistan paints a dire picture of just how much the free world depends on the security assurance provided by the USA.
The EU must speak with one voice in foreign and security policy and reconsider its ambiguous concept of "strategic autonomy" in favour of strategic capacity.
There must be no equidistance between Europe and the world's major powers. The EU, together with the USA and in the framework of the Alliance of Democracies, should defend the liberal international order and, in particular, pursue a "strategy of cooperative containment" towards China.
The OSCE is a key pillar of the pan-European security architecture and as such should be consolidated for dialogue with Russia. The Nord Stream 2 project should be put on hold for as long as Russia continues to violate international law in Ukraine.
The European security architecture must be strengthened together with NATO; there should also be a dialogue on values within NATO.
Civil society cooperation needs to be further strengthened in the transatlantic context. The joint dialogue on citizens' rights, resilience to disinformation, media freedom, climate action, social rights and consumer protection, and on supporting democracy, as guaranteed by the EESC in the EU, is particularly important.