“America first” policy goes against EU-US partnership, say MEPs | EU Parliament Press

  • EU-US relations remain key to global stability 
  • MEPs regret US decision to disengage 
  • WTO is the best place to settle trade disputes 

The US decision to quit key international deals and start a trade war harms EU-US ties; but the EU should not give up on the transatlantic bond, said MEPs on Wednesday.

In a resolution on the state of EU-US relations, approved by 490 votes to 148, with 51 abstentions, MEPs stress that the EU-US relationship is the fundamental guarantor for global stability, but regret that the current US administration has chosen a one-sided “America first” policy, that harms the interests of both the EU and the US and undermines mutual trust.

MEPs seek more clarity on whether the transatlantic bond is still relevant for American partners, as, after the election of US President Trump, MEPs find it difficult to understand new approaches taken by the US on global issues and regional conflicts. “Unilateral moves only weaken the transatlantic partnership,” the resolution says.

Regret US decision to disengage

MEPs stress that the recent US decision to quit key international agreements, commitments and forums puts at risk common values and the EU-US partnership. They criticise President Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and to apply extraterritorial measures on EU companies in Iran.

Trade disputes should be settled at WTO

MEPs also regret the uncertainty in the international trading system caused by the US’s latest move to impose steel and aluminium tariffs. MEPs reject the argument that this is justified on the grounds of national security and call on the US to grant the EU and other allies full and permanent exemption from these measures.

The EU stands ready to work with the United States on trade related issues within the rules of the multilateral trading system, says the text, adding that the WTO is the best place to settle these disputes.

Fostering partnership

Despite tense relations, MEPs still believe it is essential to foster the EU-US partnership in promoting common values, rights and compliance with international law, as other major world powers, such as Russia and China, have robust political and economic strategies, which go against these values.

The resolution suggests enhancing the EU-US cooperation on cybersecurity; counter-terrorism, energy; culture and migration, amongst others, and setting up a Transatlantic Political Council, led by the EU diplomacy chief and the US Secretary of State, to regularly consult on foreign and security policy.

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Foreign affairs committee rapporteur Mr. Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) said: “We need more common ground, more European strength, to bring the European Union and the United States closer to each other again. Only a strong Europe – also in defence – is of interest to the US and can look after its interests in this global order. Despite Trump’s policy, the US is a democratic country under the rule of law. Therefore we call again for partnership in setting up a global order under such values”.

International trade committee rapporteur Mr. Bernd Lange (S&D, DE) added: “The EU constitutes a fair US trading partner, which has a surplus in goods, but if you look at the services and profit transfer to the US, then it is almost equal. We are in favour of a rules-based, multilateral approach and of settling the differences through the WTO, therefore the rule of law has to be accepted, and not the right of might.”