The links between the European Union and the United States have historical roots: America’s decision in 1945 not to withdraw from Europe, as it did after the First World War, provided for an element of stability in Western Europe which enabled it to pursue European integration. Therefore the integration of Europe following the Second World War is both a historic achievement by the Europeans and the result of far‑sighted American foreign policy.
Since the 1990 Transatlantic Declaration there have been regular consultations between the EU and the US. These include annual summits. The last EU‑US summit took place in Brussels on 26 March 2014 (participants: President Obama, European Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission President Barroso, High Representative Ashton, National Security Adviser Rice, US Trade Representative Froman and Commissioner De Gucht). In addition, there are a host of transatlantic dialogue formats, especially on economic and trade issues, in the spheres of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Justice and Home Affairs as well as on global challenges such as fighting terrorism, development policy, energy and cyber security.
Economic ties and cooperation
The EU and the US are the most closely connected economic regions in the world. Although they account for just over 10 percent of the world’s population, they produce 46 percent of global national product, 50 percent of global economic output, around one third of world trade and one third of all patent registrations. They account for 60 percent of direct investments worldwide.
In 2015, the transatlantic trade in goods amounted to 619.6 billion US dollars. Mutual investment does even more to increase our economic links than trade alone. In late 2014, the EU member states had investments amounting to around 1985 billion US dollars in the US, while US direct investments in the EU totalled 1810 billion US dollars.
In order to make even greater use of the potential of the two major economic blocs, 15 rounds of negotiations were held on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between July 2013 and October 2016. The agreement is intended to generate more growth and employment on both sides of the Atlantic and would include trade, investment, technical standards and norms. These negotiations could lead to a new transatlantic economic area for around 800 million people.
The negotiations have been suspended for the time being. On 17 January 2017, a joint report by the European Commission and the US Trade Representative was published. It describes the state of the negotiations and states that the negotiations can be concluded if there is sufficient political will. It is unclear at present when the negotiations can be resumed under the Trump Administration.