Diplomatic relations between the EU and the U.S. date back to 1953. The relationship between the EU and the U.S. is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The EU and U.S. are the biggest economic and military powers* in the world, dominate global trade, play the leading roles in international political relations, and whatever one says matters a great deal, not only to the other, but to much of the rest of the world.
Relations between the U.S. House of Representatives and the European Parliament can be traced back to 1972, when a group of Members of the House, led by Representative Sam Gibbons of the House Ways and Means Committee, traveled to Brussels for the express purpose of meeting and exchanging views with the Parliament. The first congressional visits to Brussels were arranged by Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means who were interested in issues such as agriculture subsidies, steel, tariffs, anti-dumping initiatives, and general trade-related areas. These initial parliamentary contacts, which only involved the House of Representatives, became known as the United States European Community Interparliamentary Group. Soon after these early exchanges were initiated, Members of the House and MEPs began meeting twice a year, once in the United States and once in Europe. In 1999, they formalized their institutional cooperation into a framework called the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD). This inter-parliamentary relationship is, indeed, the longest and most intensive one in the history of the European Parliament.
A comparison of US and EU Branches of Government
The traditional division of the various functions of government is: legislative, executive, and judicial. In the U.S., each area is fulfilled by separate institutions to “check” potential abuses and balance each of the branches. Similarly in the EU there are three main political institutions that constitute the EU’s executive and legislative branches, as well as an independent judiciary with the power to exercise judicial review.
The European Union and the United States: A Shared Respect for Fundamental Rights
The historic relationship between the EU and the U.S. is based on shared values of human dignity, freedom, the rule of law, democracy, equality, the market economy, and a strong fundamental respect for respect for human rights, including minority rights. Internationally, the U.S. is an original signatory of the UN Charter and Declaration, while the EU holds its observer membership alongside the full memberships of all its 28 Member States.