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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet on the United States' Relationship with the European Union: An Enduring Partnership

The United States and Europe together comprise the world’s most complete partnership.  We share fundamental values of freedom, democracy, respect for the rule of law, and human rights. We work jointly and through international organizations to preserve basic rights and freedoms throughout the world.  We address regional and global challenges.  Together, we have responded to the global financial crises.  We work to enhance energy security and address global climate change.  We seek to promote economic development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  We cooperate on critical counterterrorism and security issues like stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan, contending with the Iranian nuclear program, and pursuing a permanent and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  Our partnership is essential to the prosperity and security of the 800 million citizens on the two sides of the Atlantic.
Transatlantic Economic Ties Account for Half the Global Economy

  • The U.S. and the EU are the two largest economies in the world, accounting for over 50 % of global GDP and 30 % of global trade.  Together we are the central drivers of the global economy.
  • The transatlantic trade and investment relationship amounted to $4.4 trillion in 2009. European capital was 64% of total foreign direct investment in the U.S.  In 2009, over 50% of total U.S. investment in foreign countries went to members of the European Union. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke noted in October 2010 that Transatlantic Foreign Direct Investment has created 14 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Through  the Transatlantic Economic Council, the U.S. and the EU work to help spur job creation and economic growth by promoting innovation, streamlining regulation, and eliminating barriers to trade and investment.  We expect the announcement of several areas of expanded regulatory cooperation at the December TEC meeting.  At this meeting, the TEC is also expected to identify ways to enhance transatlantic consultation before regulators and agencies develop regulation in new technologies and sectors, to share best practices, and to develop joint principles to promote maximum compatibility of regulations and the free flow of ideas, products, and services.

Cooperation in Energy Security and Clean Technologies is yielding results

  • As the world’s largest consumers of energy, the U.S. and EU work together in the U.S.-EU Energy Council, established in November 2009.
  • To help Europe diversify natural gas sources and transit routes, the Energy Council cooperates to pave the way for a Southern Corridor to bring Caspian gas to Europe.  The Energy Council also works with Ukraine, a critical transit state, to foster a more stable, transparent and efficient energy market.  The Energy Council also collaborates on energy efficiency, smart grids, electric vehicles, and harmonizing standards for new technologies.  It has made progress on technologies important for a low carbon, sustainable, global economy, including hydrogen and fuel cells, solar power and bio-energy.

The Obama Administration is committed to leading the charge to reduce the dangerous pollution that causes global warming, and to invest in clean energy technology to power sustainable growth in the future.

  • Under President Obama's leadership, the international community has taken significant measures toward a global solution to climate change, including a commitment by G-20 and APEC nations to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; committing $1 billion to help countries develop and implement plans to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestations and forest degradation; and reaching a historic accord at the Copenhagen climate summit that includes transparently implemented emission reductions by all major economies that lays the foundation for international action for years to come.
  • The President launched the Major Economies Forum creating a new dialogue among developed and emerging economies to combat climate change and promote clean energy.
  • The Administration also hosted the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial - the first time in history that ministers of the world's largest economies have gathered to focus exclusively on clean energy.
  • The United States is committed to working with partners around the world to meet the climate and clean energy challenge and help ensure a successful outcome at the international climate negotiations in Cancun (November 29-December 11th).  We are seeking to reach a balanced package of outcomes that makes comparable progress on the key issues of mitigation, transparency, financing, adaptation, technology and REDD+. We believe it is important to make progress in Cancun – delay is not an acceptable response to the urgent problem of climate change.

As the World's Two Leading Donors, the U.S. and EU are Committed to Combating Poverty and Promoting Development

  • The U.S. and the EU provide nearly 80% of the world’s official development assistance and are committed to work together to reduce poverty and promote development. Our goals, objectives and plans to reach them are aligned in new and exciting ways.  
  • The U.S.-EU Development Dialogue, re-launched in November 2009, has created roadmaps for cooperation on food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and is now addressing cooperation on global health.
  • The Summit will provide the opportunity to build upon our work in the Dialogue, including efforts to maximize the effectiveness and impact of our aid, avoid duplication of effort, and make progress towards better division of labor and improved transparency and accountability.
  • The President’s new Global Development Policy lays out a new operational model for development which emphasizes donor coordination.  With the EU, we are determined to forge a rational division of labor among donors to make each foreign assistance dollar go farther and focus on results rather than inputs.  We have pledged to hold ourselves and our partners to a higher standard of accountability on how development resources are spent and the results they achieve.  Ongoing efforts to make U.S. assistance more transparent, in line with our Open Government Initiative, will enhance donor coordination.  

U.S.-EU Initiatives provide for Global Stability and Security

  • The U.S. and EU face major global challenges and are working more closely than ever before on issues ranging from counter-terrorism to the Middle East, Iran Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Balkans, and fighting international crime.  
  • The U.S. and the EU continue to work together as members of the “Quartet” to address the Arab-Israeli conflict and bring lasting peace to the Middle East.  
  • The EU has been leading the P-5+1 process with Iran. The U.S. and the EU have worked together to engage Iran, while jointly achieving the adoption of the strongest ever set of UN and autonomous sanctions to dissuade Iran from pursuing its nuclear program.  
  • The U.S. and the EU are collaborating in building structures of responsive government in Afghanistan and in assisting the Afghan government in fighting corruption and drug cultivation.
  • The U.S. and EU provided jointly about $900 million in aid to Pakistan after the recent floods for reconstruction, counter-terrorism, economic recovery, and institution-building.
  • In the Western Balkans, the U.S. and EU are working closely to ensure the region moves towards its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. For example, in Serbia and Kosovo, we will facilitate an EU-led dialogue to help both governments address common issues that affect the daily lives of all citizens. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, we will continue to push for constitutional and other reforms that will allow it to move forward on EU and NATO integration.
  • The U.S. supports the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as a way to promote peace, stability, security and prosperity for all.
  • At their first joint seminar, the U.S. and the EU recently brought together 150 policymakers and practitioners on countering violent extremism and defined follow-on activities to address recruitment in the Somali Diaspora, to coordinate projects in Pakistan, and to give voice to victims of violent extremism.  
  • The U.S. and EU collaborate closely on efforts to combat corruption, transnational organized crime and other illicit networks, particularly in multilateral fora such as the United Nations.

U.S.-EU Initiatives Provide for Our Mutual Security

  • The U.S. has broad cooperation with the EU on strengthening our mutual security, through improved cooperation in law enforcement and on counterterrorism.
  • The Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) is a positive example of the collaboration between the United States and the post-Lisbon European Union on protecting all of our citizens from a common threat and finding innovative ways to combat terrorism together around the world.
  • We continue to work together to facilitate the secure travel of our citizens while protecting their privacy.  Every week, some 2,500 commercial flights carrying 500,000 people land in the United States from Europe alone.  
  • The best way to identify and mitigate the threat from evolving terrorist and criminal tactics is through information sharing and in-depth analysis.  A prime counterterrorism tool for that analysis is Passenger Name Records (PNR) data, which is a proven and vital means for identifying known threats early and identifying previously unknown persons adopting suspicious patterns of behavior.   
  • The U.S. and the EU have reached several agreements governing DHS collection of PNR, the most recent one in July 2007, being applied provisionally.  We remain confident that both sides will seek to ensure that the U.S. and EU retain the means necessary to share and analyze information about terrorists and other dangerous individuals effectively, while ensuring robust protections of privacy and civil liberties.
  • The U.S. and EU have established a Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime to evaluate and coordinate opportunities for enhanced collaboration and to focus on priority areas including cyber incident management, cyber security and cyber crime awareness and public-private partnerships.  
  • Currently 23 of 27 EU Member States are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows tourist and business travelers who are citizens of those countries to travel to the Unite States without needing to apply for a visa prior to traveling.  We are working with the other EU Member States with the goal that they will eventually be able to qualify for the program.  In FY2010, over 13 million citizens of EU Member States have participated in the VWP.

People-to-People Dialogues Strengthen the Transatlantic Relationship

  • A number of people-to-people dialogues and exchanges of personnel have facilitated enhanced collaboration.
  • The Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue (TLD), in existence since 1999, brings together U.S. Congressional Legislators and officials from the E.U. for regular coordination and dialogue on areas of mutual interest.  
  • The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) is a forum of US and EU consumer organizations to develop and agree on joint consumer policy recommendations to the US government and the European Union, in support of closer U.S.- EU economic and regulatory cooperation.  
  • The Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) is a forum for U.S. and EU chief executive officers and chairpersons of enterprises with strong transatlantic commercial interests. It advocates for the business community and seeks ways to lower barriers to transatlantic trade.
  • The U.S.-EU Platform for Cooperation on Migration and Refugee Issues is a plan of action to expand dialogue on migration and refugee issues and to look for joint responses in areas of common interest.
  • The U.S. and EU meet frequently for political dialogues on a number of subjects including: non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, UN matters, human rights, regional issues, and legal affairs, among other topics.