The transatlantic community represents the foundation of the world's wealth and security. The very size of the transatlantic economy (nearly 50% of global GDP and 40% of world trade) grants the US and the EU a privileged position to design and implement measures leading to economic growth, while setting the standard in labor rights and environmental protection. Yet great opportunities also entail great responsibilities. As the bedrock of global stability, the transatlantic community responded to the timeless need for security by proposing a historically unique alliance. NATO places at the core of its defense framework "the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law."
EU-US contacts form a complicated web of institutional cooperation and grassroots efforts. High-level relations, such as the US-EU summits, reflect the need to provide leadership and guidance for deeper integration. The fact that both Democratic and Republican US administrations highly value these meetings is an indication of the consensus across the American political spectrum of the need for expanded relations with the EU. At the same time, bottom-up efforts to shape the transatlantic agenda have brought to the fore business leaders, union representatives, and world-renowned scholars. The "transatlantic dialogues" that were thus commenced provide valuable input and make sure that political decisions enjoy the backing of the relevant social groups.