The future of EU-US relations: MEPs debate (part 3/3)


Diplomatic relations between the EU and the U.S. date back to 1953. Many important questions between EU and the U.S. are being discussed at the moment, such as withdrawal of the US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, the need to strenghten EU's strategic autonomy and defence capabilities or economic cooperation.

In a resolution on future EU-US relations adopted in the plenary in October, MEPs advocate the EU’s strategic autonomy and call for better EU-US coordination on China to avoid tensions. MEPs welcome the US’s support for rules-based multilateralism, as this provides an important opportunity to re-engage, as an equal partner.

The report stresses that, in deepening transatlantic cooperation, the EU should strive to lead alongside the US, while fostering its strategic autonomy in defence and economic relations as a means to pursue its own legitimate diplomatic, security and economic interests. MEPs also called for reflection on the lessons learnt from the situation in Afghanistan.

A new EU-US agenda for global change adopted by the Commission in December 2020 identified scope for cooperation on the pandemic,the climate, trade,security and democracy.

But progress in some areas has been slow: a US travel ban on foreign visitors was lifted only on 20 September 2021, months after the EU eased restrictions on US travellers; tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on EU steel and aluminium exports on national security grounds remain in place; and talks on a new cross-border data agreement have not yet concluded. Moreover, the US has appeared not to consult the EU on major foreign policy decisions: such as support for a proposal to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. The exodus of NATO forces from Afghanistan in August 2021 also drew criticism from some European US allies.


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