Committee of Foreign Affairs in European Parliament adopts report on EU-US relations
Brussels, 15 July 2021
The Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament voted on a report on the future of EU-US relations. EPP shadow rapporteur for the report Željana Zovko said it is an important moment for the European Parliament to reflect on the functioning of these relations. “We have received clear messages from the US administration that they are willing to re-engage with us and during the latest EU-US Summit, both sides confirmed to renew the transatlantic partnership,” she said.
Through the negotiations of the report, Zovko ensured that the text has clear language on policies that would enhance the transatlantic cooperation. According to the report, the EU-US cooperation has been key for Europe’s stability and security and that transatlantic cooperation can contribute to a peaceful, sustainable and constructive solution to existing global and regional challenges.
Zovko highlighted in the text the importance of close cooperation with the US and other like-minded states for the modernisation of multilateral organisations in order to make them fit for purpose and improve the promotion of global peace and security, fundamental rights, universal values and international law. At the same time, the text includes Zovko’s amendments calling for more interparliamentary dialogue between the EU and the US, including at State level, and increased citizen-to-citizen contacts such as via exchange programs, which would contribute to the development of common values and mutual understanding.
With the report, the European Parliament also reflects on transatlantic actions to tackle the current Covid-19 pandemic. The adopted amendments proposed by Zovko focus on the need to create efficient public diplomacy in which the EU and the US can play a leading role. “Global vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic and by a coordinated approach of the transatlantic partners we need to improve the accessibility of vaccines worldwide and allow the rapid production and delivery of vaccines wherever needed,” Zovko stated.
Zovko also contributed to the paragraph in the report on security cooperation. According to the report, the transatlantic alliance remains fundamental for the security and the stability of the European continent, as NATO is the foundation of Europe’s collective defence. Based on Zovko’s initiative, the report stresses the need for European strategic autonomy, but that it by no means undermines NATO and is complementary to it.
Furthermore, the report welcomes the highly increased coordination of the US with the EU in supporting the countries of the Western Balkans on their path to European integration and membership as clarified in the statement by the US State Department of 26 April 2021 titled “U.S. Commitment to the Western Balkans”.
Zovko added language on the visa reciprocity between the EU and the US to welcome the confirmation that Croatia meets all the requirements to be included in the program and to call on the US to speed up the process of the accession of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania to the Visa Waiver Program.
“In the joint statement of the EU-US Summit both partners declared their commitment of transatlantic relations. With this report in the European Parliament we welcome this ambition and call to set out a strong agenda to tackle common challenges.” Zovko concluded.
After the adoption in the Committee of Foreign Affairs, the report will be tabled for a vote in plenary in early autumn.