The EU will urge the US to seize this unique opportunity to forge a new global alliance to bury the tensions of the Trump era and address the “strategic challenge” posed by China.
An EU draft for revitalizing the transatlantic partnership seen by the Financial Times proposes new collaboration in everything from digital regulation to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic to fighting deforestation.
The paper prepared by the European Commission states that the partnership between the EU and the US must be “maintained and renewed” if the democratic world is to assert its interests against “authoritarian powers” and “closed economies” [that] exploiting the openness on which our own societies depend ”.
The 11-page set of draft policy proposals, entitled “A New EU-US Agenda for Global Change,” includes a call to the EU and US to bury the hatchet on persistent sources of transatlantic tension, such as the Demand Europe after higher taxation of US technology giants.
As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge arising from China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on how best to approach this
She suggests that the EU and US join forces to shape the digital regulatory landscape by taking common approaches to antitrust enforcement and privacy protection, working together on screening sensitive foreign investments, and working together to tackle threats such as cyber hacking .
Other parts of the paper call for collaboration on the development and dissemination of Covid-19 vaccines and joint work on reforming the World Health Organization.
The blueprint reflects the optimism and relief in Brussels about the prospect of working with the new US administration, but is also concerned that years of scratchy transatlantic ties have given Beijing the geopolitical initiative. The document supports President-elect Joe Biden’s idea for a democracy summit and says that the new transatlantic agenda should be “the linchpin of a new global alliance of like-minded partners.”
The paper, produced jointly by the Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, is expected to be presented to the national heads of state and government for approval at a meeting on December 10-11. It is proposing an EU-US summit in the first half of 2021 to get the new transatlantic agenda off the ground.
One of the acute frustrations in Brussels during the Trump years was the reluctance of the US administration to coordinate the two powers’ responses to China. The White House opted for unilateral trade measures not only against Beijing but also against the EU.
The paper states: “As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge that arises from China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address it. “
The development of a common line will depend largely on the ability of the two economies to bridge existing divisions across technology policy – one of the main focuses of the paper. Brussels sees the potential to work together to address issues ranging from Chinese investments in innovative EU and US companies to the potential threat posed by the country’s lead in 5G technologies.
“With our combined influence, a transatlantic tech space should form the backbone of a broader coalition of like-minded democracies,” the paper says.
Some of the proposals in the paper would require a clear change in US policy. Brussels, for example, is pushing for a concerted effort to restore the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system to full operation, which would force Washington to end blocking judicial appointments.
The paper also highlights the potential obstacles to closer cooperation between the EU and the US resulting from disagreements both between the transatlantic powers and within the European bloc. Big tech remains a possible focal point in EU-US relations and a complicated factor for any common stance on Beijing.
Brussels’ vision of privacy rights, increased industry competition and tax reform requires action against the big American companies that dominate the industry.
The remark in the draft paper that the EU and the US “do not always agree” on how to deal with China confirms that the official tripartite strategy of the European bloc of cooperation, competition and rivalry with Beijing is less Politics in Washington is hawkish as bipartisan.
While European institutions and member states in general have become more skeptical of China, particularly as Beijing’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy has become more aggressive during the pandemic, there is still reluctance to face a full-scale confrontation.
Some Member States, such as Hungary, are individually closely linked to Beijing, while the cooperation group “17 + 1” set up by China with mainly Central and Eastern European countries comprises 12 EU Member States.