Transatlantic Dialogues

Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue

Transatlantic Business Dialogue

Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue

Transatlantic Environment Dialogue

Transatlantic Labour Dialogue

The 1990s saw an extensive and ambitious institutionalization of transatlantic relations aimed at providing a foundation for a political and economic partnership between the US and Europe. This period marked a shift away from the cold war-era focus on security issues to a modern, cooperative agenda of democracy promotion, regulatory convergence, and global governance.

In order to facilitate this transatlantic partnership, a series of political agreements created new channels for dialogue between the US and the EU. In particular, the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) of 1995 established a variety of transatlantic institutions to foster information exchange and policy coordination between governmental and non-governmental parties across a range of areas. Policy goals for the transatlantic partnership, agreed upon by the US and Europe, included promoting economic liberalization and democracy – particularly in the former Soviet republics of central and eastern Europe – and responding to global challenges with “soft security” policy cooperation.

The New Transatlantic Agenda led to the establishment of several Transatlantic Dialogues to foster a transatlantic community more closely integrated across a variety of areas. Businesspeople, scientists, academics, workers, and various nongovernmental actors and citizens’ groups were encouraged to create relationships with their counterparts across the Atlantic in order to share experiences and knowledge, discuss transatlantic issues, and give input into policy-making in the US and the EU.

The NTA and the Transatlantic Dialogues are non-binding agreements, rather than legal treaties, and were not intended to impose rigid constraints on either the US or the EU. However, they have proven effective at promoting information sharing and policy convergence in some areas. The NTA framework is constantly evolving, as new layers of dialogue are added to deal with an expanding transatlantic policy agenda. The Transatlantic Legislators, Business, Consumer, Environment, and Labour Dialogues are integral parts of the wider transatlantic discourse, and they have made valuable contributions to expanding the US-EU relationship.

 

Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue: Links between our legislators

The Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD) was established to support and intensify the level of political discourse between American and European lawmakers. It was created in 1999 by the European Parliament and the US Congress as a result of the New Transatlantic Agenda’s commitment to enhanced parliamentary ties between the European Union and the United States.

TLD Delegations from the European Parliament and the US Congress meet bi-annually and communicate year-round to collaborate on issues of mutual concern. The discussions aim to foster an ongoing and uninterrupted dialogue between Europe and the United States.

The American TLD delegation is one of the only three official delegations of the US Congress, along with those to Canada and Mexico. The TLD attracts high-ranking members of both the European Parliament and the US Congress, evidence of the importance of the transatlantic relationship. Over the years, the membership of the European Parliament delegation has included vice-presidents of the Parliament, committee chairmen, quaestors and other senior members. Similarly, the US delegation has always contained a number of high-ranking Democrats and Republicans.

The 2009 TLD meeting took place on 18-20 April in Prague, Czech Republic. The discussion focused on many issues of shared interest, including climate change, the global financial crisis, the war in Afghanistan, and police and judicial cooperation.

The 2011 TLD meeting was held in San Francisco, California. Attendees  confirmed the importance for regular dialogue on political, social, security, economic, and environmental challenges that affect all citizens. Discussions on the global financial situation and trade, to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and climate change were aided by a meeting with Foreign Minister of Pakistan, His Excellency Shah Mehmood Qureshi.  Both delegations also voiced their concern for growing long-term trends and challenges such as the economic and political rise of Asia, increasing cooperation with Latin America, and solving problems concerning cyber security and climate change. The delegations reiterated the importance of improved dialogue to enhance and strengthen transatlantic ties, especially during times of great economic duress in order to work together as a partnership and solve common challenges.

For the official website of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue, please click here.

To view the joint statement from the 66th meeting of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue, please click here.

 

Transatlantic Business Dialogue: Listening to the business community

The Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) is a significant tool in the effort to build economic bridges between the European and American communities. It was founded by the European Commission and the US government in 1995 to promote transatlantic trade and investment. The TABD brings together European and American business leaders, as well as high-level representatives of the European Commission and the US government, for an annual two-day conference. The meetings lead to the development of joint policy recommendations to the US and European governments on a number of issues, mainly trade-related. The TABD deals with many issues of concern to the American and European business communities, such as regulatory cooperation, intellectual property rights, capital markets, trade and security, and accounting standards.

The ultimate goal of the TABD is to facilitate the eventual establishment of a Barrier-Free Transatlantic Market, which would serve as a catalyst for global trade liberalization and prosperity. Unified markets are considered necessary to create a business environment that will stimulate innovation and economic growth, promote increased investment, and create new jobs.

To view the official website of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, please click here.

 

Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue: Listening to consumers

The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) was established in 1998 as a result of the New Transatlantic Agenda of 1995 and the New Economic Partnership of 1998. It provides a forum for 65 consumer organizations on both sides of the Atlantic to promote the consumer interest in European and American policy-making. The TACD also encourages international cooperation between consumer groups.

The TACD contributes to the Transatlantic Economic Partnership by creating recommendations to the committees dealing with issues that concern consumers. It also closely follows other policy-making processes, such as those at the OECD or WTO. The TACD regularly issues statements and recommendations regarding significant issues, such as genetically modified foods, consumer protection in e-commerce, data privacy protection, intellectual property rights, fair trade and eco-labeling, access to medicines, and more.

The tenth annual meeting of the TACD took place in Brussels on 9 June 2009; the summary report can be found here.

To view the official website of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, please click here.

 

Transatlantic Environment Dialogue: Protecting the environment

The Transatlantic Environment Dialogue was created in May 1999. It presented recommendations to American and European leaders at the May 2000 US-EU summit in Lisbon, on issues of great environmental importance, including climate change and protection, food and agriculture, biotechnology, trade and environment issues, threats to biodiversity, and chemicals policy.

The TAED suspended operations in November 2000 citing the failure of the US Government to supply its share of funding. Though short-lived, the TAED was useful in bringing the European and American environmental NGO communities together.

 

Transatlantic Labour Dialogue: Ensuring that the voice of the unions is heard

The Transatlantic Labour Dialogue (TALD) was established in 2001 between the European Trade Union College (ETUCO), the training agency of the ETUC, and the training agency of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). It was created to improve communication and cooperation between trade union representatives from multinational companies active on both sides of the Atlantic.