Press release

A closer and deeper strategic partnership with the USA

2009 elections - External relations - 26-03-2009 - 13:28
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MEPs want a closer and deeper strategic partnership with the USA

Hillary Clinton and Hans-Gert Pöttering in a moment of the meeting: "EU-US, The next generation take the floor", European Parliament 6 March 2009

A new transatlantic partnership is needed to strengthen ties between the EU and America now that Barack Obama has taken office, says the European Parliament. MEPs are calling for a new institutional architecture including a political council and a joint transatlantic assembly. The report was adopted with 503 votes in favour to 51 with 10 abstentions.

The "new transatlantic agenda" dating from 1995 should be replaced by a new transatlantic partnership agreement based on a new institutional architecture, argues the report by Francisco José MILLÁN MON (EPP-ED, ES) adopted by the EP.  The EU-US relationship is described in the report as "the most important strategic partnership" for the EU.
MEPs propose the creation of a Transatlantic Political Council as "a body for systematic high-level consultation and coordination in respect of foreign and security policy".  It would be chaired by the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission on the EU side and by the Secretary of State on the US side, and would meet at least every three months.
A unified transatlantic market: meet the target date of 2015
The full potential of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) should be used to overcome the existing obstacles to economic integration and to achieve a unified transatlantic market by 2015.  MEPs ask the European Commission, on the basis of the study authorised and financed by the European Parliament in its 2007 Budget, to draw up a detailed road map of existing obstacles which need to be removed with the aim of achieving that target date.
They highlight the role to be played by the TEC in transatlantic macro-economic cooperation and they call for closer coordination between European and American monetary institutions.
An EP-US Congress transatlantic assembly
A transatlantic assembly should replace the current Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue, says the report. It should be compromised of Members of the European Parliament and the US Congress, and should meet twice yearly.
The transatlantic assembly should be able to make proposals to the Economic and Political Councils and to the EU-US summits. Both its co-chairs should be invited to participate in the opening session of meetings of both Councils.  The assembly should also have the right to conduct hearings with representatives of those Councils.
The report also recommends that EU-US summits take place twice a year "to provide the partnership with strategic direction and impetus".
CIA secret prisons, global issues
The U.S. administration is urged to close down any detention centres outside the United States, to put an end to the policy of extraordinary renditions and to ratify and accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
MEPs believe the new partnership should also enable the two sides to address, with Russia, the various challenges, threats and opportunities of mutual concern, such as  disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.
Prague summit 5 April 2009
Parliament warmly welcomes the upcoming summit to be held in Prague on 5 April 2009 between President Obama and the 27 EU Heads of State and Government, and hopes that that meeting will provide a strong impetus for the strengthening of the transatlantic relationship and the establishment of a common agenda.
The House welcomes the announcement by President Obama that consideration will be given to direct contacts with the Iranian side and supports the objective, pursued jointly by both partners, of finding a negotiated solution with Iran, in coordination with other members of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Parliament considers that any initiatives that one of the partners may launch concerning Iran must be closely coordinated between them in a spirit of trust and transparency.  MEPs call on the transatlantic partners to define as soon as possible a common approach towards Iran, without waiting until the issue needs to be confronted as a matter of urgency.
Lastly, it should permit better coordination of responses on other matters of joint interest such as promoting sustainable peace in the Middle East through the Quartet, the fight against terrorism and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, notably in Africa.
REF.: 20090325IPR52608