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.
A UE, os EUA e o Canadá têm em comum os valores da democracia, dos direitos humanos e da liberdade económica e política, e partilham das mesmas preocupações em matéria de política externa e de segurança. Os EUA e o Canadá estão entre os principais parceiros comerciais da UE e são também parceiros na definição da ordem jurídica internacional. As relações transatlânticas desenrolam-se atualmente num novo ambiente e deparam-se com desafios crescentes. O CESE considera que a participação da sociedade civil nesta relação é garante de que as relações transatlânticas respondem às expectativas do público, contribuindo de forma eficaz para uma cooperação mutuamente benéfica.
O Acordo Económico e Comercial Global UE-Canadá (CETA) e o Acordo de Parceria Estratégica foram assinados em 30 de outubro de 2016. O objetivo é procurar a constante participação da sociedade civil na aplicação destes acordos. As negociações sobre uma Parceria Transatlântica de Comércio e Investimento (PTCI) entre os EUA e a UE estão atualmente numa situação de impasse. No entanto, as negociações da PTCI contribuíram para reforçar os laços entre a sociedade civil da UE e dos EUA e definir as posições da sociedade civil sobre a forma que a futura relação comercial entre a UE e os EUA deve assumir. Estes progressos não se devem desperdiçar. O Comité de Acompanhamento para as Relações Transatlânticas foi criado em setembro de 2014 com o mandato de acompanhar as relações transatlânticas com a sociedade civil e realizar um diálogo e consultas regulares sobre questões atinentes às relações com os EUA e o Canadá.
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.
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.
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.