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No way back: Why the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU

There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone.

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Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here.

It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents.

Above all, the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU. For this to happen, the following issues should be given priority:

  • i) dealing with an increasingly assertive China;
  • ii) gaining more from transatlantic trade relations;
  • iii) safeguarding the benefits of NATO and multilateral institutions like the WTO;
  • iv) battling disinformation and other hybrid threats; and
  • v) reinvigorating cooperation over climate change and global health.

Because understanding of and trust in US intelligence and foreign policy positions has been eroded, a ‘thickening’ of transatlantic dialogue structures, including among elected representatives, should be pursued. This could include staff exchanges, track-two dialogues with think tanks and civil society, and an increased frequency of the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue, possibly supplemented with more subordinate bodies on specific issues, such as dealing with China.

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