Madam Chair, Madam Minister, Honourable Members,
The transatlantic relationship is a beacon of democracy and prosperity. We share deep historical ties, as well as the biggest trade and investment relationship in the world. Our trade flows reached a value of almost 1 trillion Euro last year.
But our partnership goes beyond economics. We have shared values. And we are committed to supporting democracy across the world.
We share a fundamental belief in strong global rules and institutions that give every country a fair chance to flourish.
When the EU and U.S. speak with one voice, we can get things done.
Today, after some years of turbulence, the atmosphere has changed for the better.
We are looking for new avenues for joint leadership:
- on ending the COVID-19 pandemic and driving the economic recovery;
- on building a more democratic, peaceful and secure world; on World Trade Organisation reform;
- on climate and green growth;
- on trade and technology;
- on levelling the global playing field.
Already last December, the EU reached out to the incoming Biden administration with a proposal for a renewed transatlantic agenda.
The European Commission welcomes the support of the European Parliament for this approach.
We are engaging intensively with our American counterparts to translate our intentions into action.
I have had very constructive conversations with U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Tai and Secretary of Commerce Raimondo in this regard.
We now have two important occasions to advance our strategy: a G7 Summit in the UK this week, and an EU-U.S. Summit on 15th of June.
Let me start with the G7 summit:
The G7 Summit
The participation of President Biden and the new U.S. administration, together with the parallel Italian G20 Presidency, offers an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate the G7.
The EU will be calling for stronger multilateral cooperation, in particular on health, climate, economic recovery, and bolstering our common values as open societies and democracies.
Our key priorities for this year’s G7 Summit focus on beating the pandemic, recovering from the crisis while building a better future, strengthening the multilateral trading system, working for a successful COP 26, and joining forces for a human-centric digital transformation.
Let me briefly address each of our priorities:
On health, while overcoming the Covid pandemic is our immediate priority, we should also enhance our preparedness for possible future pandemics.
Good progress was made at the G20 Global Health Summit co-hosted by Italy and the European Commission in May. The EU demonstrated its full commitment to global solidarity.
We want to build on this progress and agree a G7 Health Declaration.
The EU will push for more ambitious commitments to share vaccines with developing countries, and financing the Access to Covid Tools Accelerator.
We are also fully committed to supporting the development of vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing countries, and we are driving this work forward via fora like the WTO.
On economic recovery, we have provided unprecedented support to citizens and businesses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Given the magnitude of the Covid crisis economic impact, this support has proven very successful.
At the G7 Summit we will insist that economic support should not be abandoned too early, but should still be maintained to allow the recovery to gain proper ground.
But we will equally insist that in order to build a better future, we should shift from crisis response to promoting strong, resilient, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
Trade will play a major role. We all agree that the multilateral trading system needs to be reformed, and I thank the honourable members for their consistent leadership in this respect.
The G7 has a responsibility to lead the reform effort, and the EU will be proactively calling for a strong approach.
When it comes to the digital arena, our aim at the G7 summit will be to show unity between like-minded partners.
We want to send a clear message that we are ready to cooperate and shape a digital future based on our shared democratic values. G7 Trade Ministers already expressed strong support for open digital markets and opposition to digital protectionism – in line with the EU’s own approach.
We strongly support the creation of new rules for digital trade at the World Trade Organization. We are committed to advancing the Joint Statement Initiative on E-commerce.
Leading on environment and climate action is the EU’s first priority. At the G7 we will continue pushing for ambitious COP26 commitments on climate change, and for ambitious COP15 commitments on biodiversity.
At the Summit, the G7 will show strong leadership by signing up for an unprecedented joint commitment around net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
Democratic values and open society
Finally, the G7 Summit will provide an opportunity to promote our democratic values and open society in the world, notably by endorsing a joint declaration with like-minded democracies: the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and South Africa.
We want to engage with our international partners on geopolitical challenges, including the latest developments in Russia and Belarus. We will continue to call for the "immediate and unconditional release" of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich.
Now moving on to next Tuesday’s EU – U.S. Summit.
We very much welcome the Biden Administration’s re-engagement on the global stage, and its commitment to reinvigorate the traditional alliance with Europe.
The Summit will be an opportunity to show the world that we are serious about tackling global challenges together.
We will commit to upholding democracy and human rights, to ending the pandemic and addressing global health in general.
We will also commit to protecting our planet, and supporting an economic recovery that benefits everyone.
We also hope that the summit can deliver a more positive trade agenda. We will commit to collectively addressing the challenges stemming from non-market economies.
And, as a trust and confidence building measure, we have to de-escalate and solve EU – U.S. trade disputes.
We want to make decisive progress to resolve our bilateral disputes on aircraft and the U.S. Section 232 measures on steel and aluminium.
On the latter, we sent a clear signal to the U.S. of our willingness to solve this issue in a fair and balanced way, by suspending the automatic doubling of our legitimate countermeasures. It is now for the U.S. to walk the talk.
Beyond immediate priorities, the EU and U.S. should move closer when it comes to defining technologies, green and digital economies and societies of the future.
To that end, the EU has proposed to establish a Trade and Technology Council to deliver transatlantic leadership in the trade and digital arena, based on our shared values.
Of course, this cooperation should also be open to our like-minded partners.
Last but not least, we also hope to forge an alliance with the U.S. to cooperate on World Trade Organization reform.
We need to bring the global trade rulebook up to date, helping us to address the many challenges we face.
Finally, we will engage with the U.S. on critical geopolitical challenges, including Russia and China, but also in supporting the EU’s Eastern partners such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, strengthening our joint engagement in Western Balkans, and ensuring stability in the Middle East and Africa.
To conclude, honourable members, the Commission is looking forward to these important summits and we will inform you on their outcome. Thank you for your continued support.