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pic-geab-107 American Election – Brexit – Euroland – TTIP – Turkey – Russian Sanctions: What future is there for the European Commission within the big redefinition of the Transatlantic Relationship?

Since its creation, the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin has been designed among other things to inform European public opinion and decision makers about the fact that the global geopolitical reconfiguration vitally requires a profound change of the EU. The United States, structural associate of the European project since its origin – but mostly since the fall of the Berlin Wall – has also changed its role and place in the world. And now, with the global systemic crisis, its transformation emphasises even more the EU’s urgent need to adapt; in terms of its nature, purpose and external relations. But most of all, its need to reform its most emblematic administrative body, the European Commission.

Visible Deterioration of the Transatlantic Relationship   

A period of thirteen years will have passed since the Franco-German refusal to follow the US in its Iraq war in 2003[1] until the “possibility of Trump” for the US presidency at the end of 2016. In the meantime, the transatlantic relationship has witnessed all kinds of hazards: starting with great moments of apparent symbiosis (Sarkozy’s election as head of the most anti-Atlanticist EU countries in 2007; the communion against Russia in 2014) and ending with deep questioning (NSA’s spying scandal[2] and anti-TTIP campaigns[3]).

Nevertheless, we currently see some of the rupture indicators intensify, which question several particularly fundamental points of the transatlantic relationship. Here are the most common:

. the action taken against Barroso in response to his hiring by Goldman Sachs: Barroso was a president of the European Commission known as blindly and unconditionally pro-Atlanticist. He was hired by Goldman Sachs which was notoriously responsible for the misleading investigation of the Greek debt case in 2002, as part of the decision to integrate the country into the Eurozone[4]. Some time ago, this kind of scandal could have been missed; but this time, not only has the media jumped on the topic, but also the Commission has reacted by withdrawing Barroso’s privileged entry access as a former president[5]; a group of officials even signed a petition entitled “not in our name”[6].

. the implementation of reciprocal visas between North America and the EU: by applying the EU principles of solidarity, the European Commission has hardened its stance with the US and Canada, which still keep their visa policy for citizens of certain EU countries; the Commission has threatened to implement a reciprocal measure by asking for visas from US and Canadian citizens travelling to Europe. Last July, a six-month period was given for the US and Canada to remove visa requirements for all EU countries; or a measure of reciprocity would be applied[7]. We will see how things settle by the end of this year. It appears that the EU, via the European Commission, has decided that it will no longer be pushed around by its North American allies.

. the simultaneous statements made by Gabriel (DE) and Hollande (FR) in an attempt to bury the TTIP: This summer, the German Minister of Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, and the French President, François Hollande, made several statements converging on the fact that the TTIP was stillborn and that negotiations had to stop. This ... Read