Recent years have been marked by a persistent global decline in democratic values and the rule of law. While many differences remain and have to be acknowledged, North America has unquestionably been our closest historical ally in championing democracy and its values across the world. The arrival of the new administration in the US has provided a new momentum and a unique opportunity to build the new transatlantic partnership and jointly manage not only the internal, but also global challenges, especially with regard to powers which do not share the same values, such as China or Russia. President Biden's initiative to organise a Summit for Democracy at a time when autocracies are on the offensive is only the first step in building a strong international democratic alliance.
L-UE, l-Istati Uniti u l-Kanada jaqsmu l-valuri tad-demokrazija, id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, u l-libertà ekonomika u politika u l-preokkupazzjonijiet tagħhom dwar il-politika barranija u s-sigurtà huma komuni għat-tlieta li huma. L-Istati Uniti u l-Kanada huma fost l-imsieħba kummerċjali ewlenin tal-UE u huma wkoll imsieħba fejn jidħol it-tiswir tal-ordni legali internazzjonali. Illum il-ġurnata, ir-relazzjonijiet trans-Atlantiċi jseħħu f’ambjent ġdid u qed jiffaċċjaw sfidi dejjem jikbru. Aħna nqisu li l-kontribut tas-soċjetà ċivili f’din ir-relazzjoni jipprovdi garanzija li r-relazzjonijiet trans-Atlantiċi jkunu f’pożizzjoni jissodisfaw l-aspettattivi tal-pubbliku u jikkontribwixxu effettivament għall-iżvilupp ta’ kooperazzjoni li tkun ta’ ġid reċiproku.
Il-Ftehim Ekonomiku u Kummerċjali Komprensiv bejn l-UE u l-Kanada (CETA) u l-Ftehim ta’ Sħubija Strateġika ġew iffirmati fit-30 ta’ Ottubru 2016. Aħna ser inħabirku biex is-soċjetà ċivili tinvolvi ruħha kontinwament fl-implimentazzjoni ta’ dawn il-ftehimiet. In-negozjati dwar Sħubija Trans-Atlantika ta’ Kummerċ u ta’ Investiment (TTIP) bejn l-UE u l-Istati Uniti bħalissa jinsabu weqfin. Madankollu, in-negozjati dwar it-TTIP ikkontribwixxew għat-tisħiħ tar-rabtiet bejn is-soċjetà ċivili fl-UE u l-Istati Uniti u għad-definizzjoni tal-fehmiet tas-soċjetà ċivili dwar liema forma għandha tieħu r-relazzjoni kummerċjali futura bejn l-UE u l-Istati Uniti. Dawn il-kisbiet m’għandhomx jintilfu. Il-Kumitat ta’ Segwitu tagħna dwar ir-Relazzjonijiet Trans-Atlantiċi twaqqaf f’Settembru 2014 b’mandat li jissorvelja r-rabtiet trans-Atlantiċi mas-soċjetà ċivili u stabbilixxa djalogu u konsultazzjoni regolari dwar kwistjonijiet li jirrigwardaw ir-relazzjonijiet mal-Istati Uniti u l-Kanada.
On 12 June 2014, the Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council codifying Council Regulation (EC) No 673/2005 of 25 April 2005 establishing additional customs duties on imports of certain products originating in the United States of America.
The EESC has played an important role in strengthening an informed civil society debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) through a number of TTIP-related opinions, adopted in 2014 and 2015, covering issues such as labour rights, investment protection, impact on SMEs, among others.
It is important under the present circumstances that the EESC, in order to maintain its position as a key civil society player in the TTIP debate, react to the textual proposals for TTIP negotiations on essential topics such as the sustainable development chapter, regulatory cooperation, investment and services. This will have the advantage not only of setting up the EESC position on major negotiating chapters but also of presenting concrete recommendations and pointing out the need to involve civil society in the implementation of those chapters.
The own-initiative opinion will focus on the impact of the TTIP on SMEs and reflect on the provisions that would need to be included in the TTIP in order to take account of the specific character of SMEs in the negotiations and implementation of an eventual EU-US agreement. The opinion will also look at how to increase the awareness of SMEs as to existing support services and programmes, and particularly about the new business opportunities that may arise with this agreement.
Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the investment policy is an exclusive competence of the European Union. The EU is aiming to include therefore in the new trade and investment agreements provisions on investor protection and investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) which will replace existing Bilateral Investment Agreements (BIT) signed by Member States and will grant the same level of protection to all EU investors.
The main goal of the opinion is to provide a good and qualitative source of information and opinion in the beginning of TTIP negotiations process.
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.