EU-US relations are high on the EU institutional agenda, as demonstrated by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Washington on 10 March as well as an informal meeting of EU trade ministers taking place in Stockholm on 9 and 10 March. Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden are expected to discuss the controversial Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), broader security issues and China’s deepening ties with Russia. The meeting between EU trade ministers will discuss EU-US trade relations, including the state of play regarding the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC).
Transatlantic energy cooperation is hotly debated as a consequence of the war in Ukraine and the resulting strain it has put on Member States. The EU and the US have set up different configurations to exchange and further their cooperation, such as the EU-US Energy Council that last met prior to Russia’s invasion in February 2022 and underlined the necessity of accelerating the just energy transition to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The US-EU Task Force on the IRA was then launched in October 2022 with the goal of addressing specific concerns, including the risk of weakening competition and raising prices. Finally, the TTC, set up during an EU-US Summit in June 2021, is designed to support stronger transatlantic relations and leans on the main principles of the international rules-based approach to trade, technology and innovation founded on solid democratic principles. Its five areas of cooperation are: export controls, foreign direct investment screening, secure supply chains, technology standards, and global trade challenges. The conclusions of the last meeting in December 2022 included the launch of a transatlantic initiative on sustainable trade.
As a direct response to the IRA, the Commission launched the Green Deal Industrial Plan, based on four main pillars: a predictable and simplified regulatory environment, faster access to funding, enhancing skills, and open trade for resilient supply chains. The Commission underlined the importance of protecting the Single Market from unfair trade in the clean tech sector and of ensuring that foreign subsidies do not distort competition in the Single Market.
- European Commission: EU-US Joint Statement of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC)
- European Commission: European Green Deal Industrial Plan
- European Parliament: Report on the future of EU-US relations
- 9-10 March 2023: Informal meeting of EU trade ministers
- 10 March 2023: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s official visit to the United States
The European Movement International position
In our policy position on EU-US relations, we argue in favour of deepening trade and economic cooperation between the EU and US to enhance competitiveness and economic growth while promoting international social and labour standards. This cooperation must be built on reciprocity, transparency and a level playing field. The TTC has the potential to coordinate global trade, technological innovation and economic issues in a transparent way.
The US and the EU, guided by the European Green Deal objectives, must drive global environmental and climate action and renew their efforts to ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement, which is essential to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Additionally, the establishment of the EU-US High Level Climate Action Group and the plans for an EU-US Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance pinpoint renewed transatlantic climate cooperation. These initiatives should become clear, transparent institutional structures and share a common climate agenda.
Moreover, promoting a new defence partnership with the US and its international allies is of the utmost importance. In facing the war in Ukraine, the transatlantic alliance needs to provide robust diplomatic and military support to Ukraine. Additionally, as highlighted in our policy position on the Future of European Security and Defence Cooperation, the US – and the transatlantic alliance altogether – can benefit from a strong EU. Enhancing the European strategic autonomy and the EU’s capabilities in security and defence are an inevitable element of deepening and fortifying transatlantic relations. The most beneficial defence cooperation between the EU and its transatlantic partners is when Member States have modernised military capabilities ready for deployment. The EU needs to be seen as a reliable European pillar of NATO, which remains the foundation of collective defence for its members.