Joint Statement following the 79th inter-parliamentary meeting in Washington DC
Lawmakers from the European Parliament and the US Congress met in Washington DC on 28-29 November 2016 for the 79th EU-US inter-parliamentary meeting. Their joint statement reaffirms the importance of strengthening the transatlantic relationship and a shared commitment to continue working together and respond effectively to common challenges including on economic matters and Foreign Policy and Security and Defence Policy. Read the full statement.
79th INTER-PARLIAMENTARY MEETING
TRANSATLANTIC LEGISLATORS’ DIALOGUE
Washington DC, November 29, 2016
We, the members of the US House of Representatives and the European Parliament, held our 79th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue in Washington D.C. on November 28 and 29, 2016. Building upon the strong foundation of our common values and shared principles, we discussed ways to strengthen our relationship in a changing world and to respond effectively to the important challenges we face.
Following up on previous discussions, we exchanged views on:
- The political prospects and challenges for the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU);
- Strategic challenges and opportunities for U.S.-EU relations, including economic matters;
- Foreign policy as well as security and defence policy.
We committed to show responsibility to address these challenges and opportunities together as legislators. We reaffirm the conclusions of our previous inter-parliamentary meetings and are resolved to bring these and the current aims to completion.
Current political prospects and challenges for the EU and the US
We took stock of the results of the presidential and congressional elections in the United States of America and discussed the possible effects on the composition of the U.S. Congress and the position of the next presidency and administration.
We affirm that our relationship is strong, strategic, unique and built on the shared values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. A strong transatlantic bond is crucial for our citizens and our position in the world. Therefore, we welcome the timing of this Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD). We have an important role to deliver a joint message of stability, continuity and unity to our constituents and the world.
We reaffirm the importance of our cooperation inside the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue. We are reminded of the work and the successes we have achieved together, including in the areas of the economy, trade, security and the protection of the rights of our citizens. We undertake to continue to achieve progress on challenges and opportunities ahead.
Our two legislatures are at an important political juncture, with a newly elected U.S. Congress and a European Parliament at mid-term. We undertake to reinforce our cooperation and to work closely through our respective mandates. We believe we can achieve closer cooperation through practical steps that open avenues for liaising and engaging more closely.
We also discussed the challenges faced by the European Union at this time. Prominent among them for the EU is managing the process by which the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU, in an orderly and constructive manner, and with a settlement that will enable both the EU and the UK to achieve stability and prosperity. At the same time, we noted the Bratislava roadmap where several other key challenges were identified: migration and full control of our external borders, internal security and fighting terrorism, external security and defence and the economy with a particular focus on addressing youth unemployment.
Strategic challenges and opportunities for EU-US relations, including economic matters
Our relationship is comprehensive and comprises a variety of areas, from economic and commercial matters, to civil liberties and the achievement of the highest possible standards for our citizens. We reaffirm our core economic values, as well as our adherence to rules based trade and cooperation in setting international standards and driving the global economy forward.
We renew our commitment for a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), based on joint democratic values, which would put both the U.S. and the EU in the lead on establishing modern global trade rules and will benefit our citizens and our economies. We believe the EU and the U.S. are unique strategic partners and TTIP has the potential to reinvigorate the transatlantic partnership well beyond its trade aspects.
We encourage negotiators to intensify efforts to conduct the negotiations in an efficient and transparent manner, with the aim of securing consolidated texts. Looking further ahead, it is of vital economic and strategic importance to ensure that the trade and investment relationship between the EU and the U.S. flourishes. We stress however, that substance is of paramount importance and the negotiating rounds must deliver on essential priorities, leading to genuine market openness on a reciprocal basis and trade facilitation, cooperation on regulatory regimes and a set of rules setting the framework for rules-based trade. The ultimate goal is that TTIP creates jobs and delivers economic benefits throughout our societies, while safeguarding our respective high standards.
We renew our commitment for advancing in the multilateral trade agenda under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where progress is possible. At the same time we stress that it is key that all parties to the WTO act in line with their commitments and in line with international trade law.
We encourage our administrative bodies to pursue progress on other bilateral cooperation between the United States and the European Union, ranging from the economy and cooperation on fiscal matters, the digital sphere and data protection, energy cooperation, the environment, law enforcement and numerous other fields. This variety is a tangible indication of the wide and profound relationship that exists between us.
We encourage more cooperation on combatting tax fraud, terrorist finance and money laundering. We stress the need for a common and comprehensive EU/U.S. approach on the implementation of OECD standards and on beneficial ownership. This would create more value for society as a whole, combat tax fraud, prevent abuses of the financial system, and achieve leadership on the part of the transatlantic partners in the promotion of good tax governance.
We also support closer regulatory cooperation, including in financial services, between the relevant EU and U.S. regulators.
We positively note the adoption of the Data Protection ‘Umbrella’ Agreement and believe the new framework brings more certainty and stability to law enforcement cooperation. We also welcome the adoption of the new framework for the protection of transatlantic data flows, in the shape of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This new framework aims to protect the fundamental rights of citizens as well as to bring legal clarity for businesses relying on transatlantic data transfers. We wish to see a reinforcement of the dialogue in the sphere of the digital economy.
We recognize the work of the EU-U.S. Energy council and its benefits for both sides, its positive impact not only for energy security, but also its geostrategic importance and economic benefits achieved through the exchanges of energy products and technology. We also support prompt conclusion of an ambitious Environmental Goods Agreement being negotiated under the auspices of the WTO.
We discussed the recent COP22 climate summit in Marrakech and reviewed the outcomes achieved in that forum.
Foreign policy and Security and Defence policy
The United States and the European Union have long enjoyed a close strategic partnership in addressing multiple global challenges including the recent crises in Europe's immediate neighbourhood. This collaboration has been close and successful, bringing results in a variety of theatres ranging from upholding the full sovereignty of Ukraine, to fighting Daesh and negotiating an end to the war in Syria. It is in our vital interest and mutual benefit to continue this cooperative transatlantic approach, which remains a crucial factor for ensuring peace and security across the globe.
We are convinced that NATO is the cornerstone of collective security in Europe. We welcome the July 2016 Warsaw Summit Declaration and fully support deepened cooperation between NATO and the EU, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, migration and the response to hybrid threats. We undertake to bridge any divisions to make sure we can continue to play a leading role in ensuring peace and stability.
We welcome the EU's efforts to bolster its contribution to international security through a strengthened Common Security and Defence Policy. The implementation of the EU Global Strategy and the European Defence Action Plan should help in the development of defence capabilities. This entails spending more on defence, spending better and spending together. We reiterate our call for European NATO allies to meet the commitment they made at the 2014 NATO summit to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence spending by 2024.
We need to define a more effective strategy for relations with Russia based on credible deterrence. We stress that sanctions have proven to be an effective means for deterring Russian aggression and recall that the prerequisite for their suspension is the timely, verifiable and complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. It is in the common interest of the U.S. and the EU to have a better relationship and maintain dialogue with Russia but this has to be on the basis of respect for international laws, commitments and norms.
We reiterate the urgent need to address the conflict in Syria which has caused immense human suffering and destabilized the region. We believe that greater engagement at the source of the conflict would also address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and reduce the flood of refugees to neighbouring states and Europe. We strongly condemn the on-going assaults by the Assad regime and its backers to target medical facilities, hospitals and civilian targets in an effort to inflict the maximum damage on non-combatants. We support the efforts to reach and implement an action plan for consolidating the ceasefire, allowing humanitarian relief to reach the affected areas and completing a peaceful political transition in Syria. Such a resolution requires all sides and external actors, such as Russia and Iran, to fully respect the cessation of hostilities agreements. We must use our leverage over key actors to gain their constructive contribution to these efforts.
We must intensify our fight against violent extremism and Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and Africa. International action is needed to increase global financial assistance to meet the immediate and long term needs of refugees and other displaced persons as well as their host communities. While coordinated military force against Daesh is necessary to degrade and defeat the terrorist group, the U.S. and the EU can also reinforce their concerted diplomatic efforts with partners in the region to address this global challenge. A closer cooperation between U.S. authorities and the two European agencies, Europol and Eurojust, as well as Interpol, would be a force-multiplier for our robust counterterrorism relationship.
We recognise Turkey's importance as a NATO ally and in solving the Syrian conflict and in the fight against Daesh. We strongly condemn the attempted coup against the democratically elected government but are deeply concerned by the widespread repressive measures underway. We further urge the Government of Turkey to restore the rule of law, respect human rights, secure the independence of the judiciary, and protect freedom of speech fully in its efforts to protect the constitutional order.
Our discussions have convinced us of the need to strengthen and deepen our relations still further. We will continue the policy-oriented approach in the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue. We will continue to work towards increased security, as well as cooperate more closely on the economy and other sectors, as well as have a closer political dialogue, in the spirit of enriching our valuable partnership. We look forward to achieving progress on these and other topics by our next meeting in Malta.
David McAllister Mario Diaz-Balart
EU Delegation U.S. Delegation
Jeppe Kofod Jim Costa
Vice-Chair Ranking Member
EU Delegation U.S. Delegation