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

December 01, 2011

The United States and the European Union are committed to ensuring that our partnership brings greater prosperity and security to our 800 million citizens and to working together to address global challenges. Our shared values and experience will enable us to spur economic recovery and job creation; buttress transitions to democracy in the Middle East and North Africa; and, protect our citizens.

The Transatlantic Economic Relationship Is a Cornerstone of the Global Economy

Ø      The U.S. and the EU are the two largest economies in the world, accounting for almost 50% of global GDP. Together we are central to the global economy and are each other's most important markets for our products and investments.

Ø      Trade flows between the U.S. and the EU exceed $3.5 billion per day. Foreign Direct Investment has created millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and represents over 50 percent of global flows. In 2010, U.S. FDI into the EU – $1.95 trillion – was more than twice U.S. FDI into any other region in the world. The EU's 2010 Foreign Direct Investment of almost $1.5 trillion into the U.S. is approximately quadruple the amount that the U.S. receives from any other region.

Ø      On November 29, U.S. White House and Cabinet officials, EU Commissioners, and other senior economic policy and regulatory officials held the sixth meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC). The TEC focuses on early coordination of regulations and standards to avoid future barriers to trade and to create new opportunities for jobs and growth through cooperation on regulation and innovation, including in key sectors, such as e-vehicles. By building a more closely integrated transatlantic marketplace, work done under the auspices of the TEC strengthens the capacity of both our economies to innovate and compete in global markets.

Ø      The U.S.-EU Energy Council, led by Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Energy Chu, EU Commissioner for Energy Oettinger and High Representative Ashton, met on November 28 to review progress achieved on strategic energy issues, cooperation on energy policies, and research collaboration on sustainable and clean energy technologies. Council leaders renewed their commitment to continued cooperation on energy for mutual security and prosperity and emphasized the importance of leading-edge energy technologies in creating jobs and fostering economic growth.

The U.S. and EU Support Transitions to Modern Economies and Democracy

Ø      The U.S. and the EU are the two largest providers of official development assistance (ODA), amounting to over 80% of global ODA this year.

Ø      Arab Spring. In the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. and the EU have increased cooperation on coordinated messaging to governments on the need for an inclusive transition process, including social and economic reforms, the value of civil society engagement, and the importance of government-led donor coordination. The U.S. has allocated $135 million in Economic Support Funds in FY2011 to address new needs and opportunities generated by the transitions. The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation has committed to provide $2 billion in financing over the next three years to stimulate private investment and growth. The Middle East Partnership Initiative has $80 million in funds for FY2011 to support pluralism, participation, and prosperity in the region.

Ø      Support for Human Rights in Iran and Syria, Countering Threats to International Security. Against Iran, the U.S. and EU have imposed increasingly tough sanctions, drawing on UN Security Council resolutions, in response to Iran's continued noncompliance with its international nuclear obligations and other destabilizing activities. We have also imposed measures against regime elements responsible for serious human rights abuses. The E-3 and other EU members of the IAEA Board of Governors voted for the November 18 IAEA Board resolution against Iran. Both the U.S. and EU are committed to the dual-track approach of pressure and engagement. In Syria, the U.S., EU, and like-minded nations have implemented strong sanctions to increase pressure on the Asad regime and target those responsible for grave human rights abuses. In both the U.S. and the EU, these include a ban on the import and sale of oil from Syria, the principal source of hard currency for that regime. We have also led efforts to call attention to Syria's human rights violations in the Human Rights Council, each convening a special sessions on Syria.

Ø      Afghanistan/Pakistan. In Afghanistan, the U.S., EU, and other European donors provide the majority of funding for stabilization, promotion of democratic governance, and transition to a sustainable economy. As primary donors to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, the U.S. and EU are facilitating a more effective and transparent national and local government. In FY2011, the United States provided $2.5 billion for civilian assistance. The funding supports a broad range of activities to further stabilize and develop Afghanistan with special emphasis on building capacity and ensuring transparency within the Afghan Government, constructing energy infrastructure required for sustainable economic development, bolstering agricultural production, and ensuring gains in healthcare and education are expanded. U.S. efforts also focus on empowering women by increasing their access to healthcare and education and facilitating involvement in economic and political activity.

Ø      The U.S. is the largest bilateral donor in Pakistan. We are providing $1.1 billion in FY 2011 in civilian assistance to help Pakistan address energy challenges, foster economic growth, stabilize border regions, and improve civilian governance. A stable, tolerant, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan is in both of our long-term interests.

Ø      The EU's European Neighbors. The U.S. has remained committed to helping the Balkans integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community. In FY 2011, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development allocated approximately $283 million in assistance to the Balkans. $37 million focused on security assistance, while about $246 million focused on development assistance to address fundamental issues of democratic reform, market-based economic modernization, and the rule of law.

Ø      This year, we have provided approximately $18 million in assistance to Belarus, the majority of which is targeted to create space for the free expression of political views, human rights, civil society development, and media freedom.

Ø      In FY 2011, we provided over $120 million in assistance to encourage Ukraine's transformation into a free-market, democratic society. These programs are targeted to strengthen democratic institutions and processes, bolster the rule of law, fight corruption, deepen market reforms, enhance energy security, provide humanitarian aid, and promote the adherence of security sector and law enforcement practices to Euro-Atlantic standards.

U.S.-EU Commitments on Trans-national Security Issues Protect Our Citizens

Ø      Cybersecurity and Cybercrime. The U.S.-EU Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime made significant progress in 2011 in each of its four priority areas of cooperation: incident management; public-private partnerships; awareness raising; and cybercrime.

--The U.S. and EU held a joint, "Cyber Atlantic" cyber incident management exercise on November 3 and a joint capabilities workshop in June. Designed to work towards synchronized, coordinated responses to cyber incidents of mutual concern, the program will culminate in a full joint U.S.-EU cyber exercise in 2013, involving the private sector.

--The Working Group developed an in-depth strategy for public-private sector engagement, building on existing initiatives, and focused on two key areas of mutual concern: botnets and industrial control system security/smart grid security. In 2012, the Working Group will also work on confronting unfair market access barriers that U.S. and European technology companies face abroad.

--This year the U.S. and EU launched a program for immediate joint awareness raising initiatives, which led to an exchange of information during U.S. National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and development of a roadmap towards synchronized annual awareness efforts—culminating in a fully-fledged EU and U.S. Cyber Security month by 2014.

--Cybercrime activities focused on: combating child pornography through more rapid identification, notice and takedown procedures; enhancing security of domain names and IP addresses to combat illicit use; and encouraging ratification of the Convention on Cybercrime. We committed to expand the global number of states party to the Budapest Convention, including all European states' accession by the end of 2012.

Ø      CVE. The U.S. and the EU have leveraged our respective efforts to counter violent extremism by sharing information, coordinating communication and counter-narratives, and empowering local partners. We are sharing case studies to enable analysts to improve their ability to identify patterns that help prevent violent extremism. We participate together with other international partners to coordinate on counter-messaging against al-Qaida. The U.S.-EU Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Steering Committee organized an expert-level seminar on CVE issues in Somalia and the Somali Diaspora in January and is planning a similar initiative for other Diaspora communities in 2012.

Ø      In the future, we hope to expand this cooperation by broadening our outreach to and information sharing with diaspora communities, government and law enforcement officials, and our respective domestic communities. The U.S. is considering supporting the EU's Radicalization Awareness Network (RAN) by providing access to USG CVE practitioners and experts. RAN is an EU-wide umbrella network of practitioners and local actors involved in countering violent radicalization that will enable members to share and discuss best practices in identifying and addressing radicalization and recruitment leading to acts of terrorism. The EU co-chairs the Horn of Africa Working Group of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) launched in September by the U.S. and Turkey. Other areas for potential cooperation include training money services businesses to recognize suspicious transactions and funding training to empower young people to counter violent extremism on the internet.

Ø      Passenger Name Record. The U.S. and the EU work together to facilitate the secure travel of our citizens, while protecting their individual privacy. 22 million Europeans and Americans cross the Atlantic every year generating over $70 billion in travel and tourism revenues. 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. On November 17, the U.S. and the EU initialed an agreement on the transfer and future sharing of PNR, and it was approved by the full European Commission on November 24. It now needs to be ratified by the Council and Parliament of the European Union. This agreement demonstrates how we are working with the EU to fight terrorism and transnational threats, while respecting our commitment to the civil liberties and rights of our citizens.

Ø      Visa Waiver Program. 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 U.S. 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 be able to qualify for the program in the future. In FY 2011, over 7.5 million citizens of EU Member States visited the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. We are also working with countries already covered by the VWP to execute required information sharing agreements – with the aim of securing travel by deterring, detecting, and preventing the travel of those who would seek to do harm in either the U.S. or the EU.

Ø      U.S.-EU Crisis Management Framework Agreement. On May 17, Secretary of State Clinton and High Representative Ashton signed the Framework Agreement between the U.S. and the EU on the Participation of the U.S. in EU Crisis Management Operations. This Agreement builds on existing U.S. participation, which the U.S. and EU had separately negotiated and agreed, in the EU Rule of Law mission (EULEX) in Kosovo and in the EU Security Sector Reform mission (EUSEC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Agreement provides a legal framework for U. S. civilian participation in EU crisis management missions, to strengthen our practical, on-the-ground coordination in crisis situations.

Ø      Transatlantic Task Force on Urgent Antimicrobial Resistance. At the 2009 Summit, leaders established this task force focused on appropriate therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in the medical and veterinary communities, prevention of both healthcare- and community-associated drug-resistant infections, and strategies for improving the pipeline of new antimicrobial drugs, which could be better addressed by intensified cooperation between us. The task force completed its work this year, and in September issued a set of 17 recommendations for future US-EU cooperation. Work now turns to continuing this collaboration by implementing the recommendations issued by the Task Force.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet on the United States' Relationship with the European Union: An Enduring Partnership Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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