Three scenarios for the future of transatlantic relationship

Three Scenarios for the Future of EU-NATO Relations The transatlantic relationship has always been central to security and defence policy. Since the end of the Cold War, transatlantic relations have progressively lost on transatlantic relations and three potential scenarios for the future: structural. Transatlantic relations. US-EU politics. Global shift. WORKING PAPER 2. Nathalie Tocci and Riccardo Alcaro*. Three Scenarios for the Future of the.

However, due to significant and continuing financial difficulties, it is hard to see how they could displace Germany as the uncontested EU leader in this policy area.

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Moreover, France and Italy have traditionally not shared the same views on free trade as the United States, and French President Hollande has been strongly opposed to TAFTA in its current form, threatening to veto the continuation of negotiations if the US does not compromise on key issues. Furthermore, Frankfurt is better positioned than Paris or Rome to replace London as the EU's new financial capital, due to a more competitive and attractive tax regime, flexible regulations and labor laws.

Much will depend on what terms the new British Prime Minister Theresa May is able to negotiate regarding Brexit, and whether the UK retains full access to the single market. While the UK will remain an important financial and economic partner for the US, it is likely that Germany, instead of France, could become the new entry point for US corporations to access the EU market. Likewise, Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland is well-positioned to replace London as a potential relocation point for US corporations seeking entry, due to its EU membership and use of the English-language.

Britain's departure from the EU may also open-up a security and military policy gap in Europe. Although the Lisbon Treaty enhanced the EU's capacity to intervene as an international actor, it also defined foreign and defense issues as intergovernmental policy areas.

This means that member states retain their power of veto, as well as their ability to conduct their own national policies in these domains. Thus, important foreign policy and military decisions continue to be taken by member states themselves, which then seek to coordinate their responses to international crises through mechanisms such as the European Council between heads of state or the Council of the EU between foreign or defense ministers.

Indeed, since the Brexit vote, the UK has reinforced its military presence in Estonia to defend NATO's eastern front, renewed its nuclear Trident submarine program, and enhanced collaboration with key EU allies such as France in the fight against the Islamic State.

The Future of the United Kingdom and the European Union

Nevertheless, Britain's departure from the EU means that it will no longer have a seat at the European Council or the Council of the EU, where certain key foreign and defense policy decisions are taken. Thus, the scope of its previous influence is likely to diminish. In all certainty, Britain will continue to be consulted as a prominent ally, and it is essential for the EU and the US to maintain close cooperation with the UK after Brexit in order to preserve the cohesion and effectiveness of the NATO alliance.

However, the fact that Britain will no longer be at the negotiating table in Brussels means that the US arguably has no other choice but to reinforce defense cooperation with other EU allies. As a result, a new system of multiple partnerships and alliances will likely develop for transatlantic security relations in the years to come.

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Continental Europe contains many of the world's leading militaries that are key NATO allies, having provided consistent support to the United States during international crises. For example, since reunification, Germany has succeed in positioning itself as a strategic partner for the US. In response to the unstable international context over the last few years, there appears to have been a turning point in Germany's attitude towards its armed forces, ending a taboo that dates back to WWII.

Likewise, recent Russian interventionism in Ukraine has encouraged countries in Eastern and Northern Europe to significantly increase their military spending and enhance cooperation with the US through regular joint military training. Moreover, the ERI enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress, which means that it has become a long-term commitment, forming part of a multi-year plan to "reassure allies of the U.

These developments make France a potential ally of choice for the future evolution of security relations between Europe and the United States. Indeed, despite recent increases, Germany's spending on defense still represents only 1. This contrasts with France, which spent 2. Likewise, all other countries in the EU do not come close to equaling France's military capacity or defense budget, the closest being Italy, which spends less than half of what France spends on defense The country has played a critical role in battling and containing terrorism and civil unrest throughout its former colonial sphere in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Another advantage enjoyed by France is that it does not need to rely on Parliamentary approval for foreign military intervention, allowing the French military to intervene rapidly, effectively and at short notice. By contrast, President Hollande had the French military ready to intervene at short notice, with no need for Parliamentary review. Moreover, France has consistently increased its military spending over the last few years, and the pace has accelerated following the wave of terrorism that hit the country in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January The French President has announced a plan to increase defense spending by four billion euros from to tackle terrorism at home and overseas, [28] a figure that has been revised upwards following the terrorist attacks in Nice last July.

Therefore, while transatlantic security relations are likely to develop towards a situation of multiple partnerships following Brexit, France is well positioned to play a leading role. Indeed, closer analysis reveals that, long before the Brexit vote, a noticeable rapprochement between France and the United States had already begun with Obama's election in Keen to restore good relations with the US following a sharp deterioration under the Bush years, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided in that France's military should re-join NATO's integrated command structure.

This put an end to 43 years of semi-detachment following de Gaulle's controversial decision to withdraw back in Subsequently, France has been at the forefront of all US military interventions under Obama, with President Sarkozy taking the initiative for the intervention in Libya.

Transatlantic Relations after Brexit

He not only succeeded in convincing his reluctant American ally to support a NATO operation, [29] but also pushed for the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution to provide a context of legality even though the end result of the intervention is now open to debate. Likewise, the French military has worked in very close cooperation with the US military for all its interventions on the African continent, including in Mali January and in the Central African Republic December According to two American officials, the US army's global commitments are already significant, thus the value of France's military contribution is the French army's ability to intervene decisively and at short notice, precluding the need for US intervention and making France a dependable ally in an emergency situation.

The height of this Franco-American rapprochement arguably occurred on January 20thwhen US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter explained during a press conference in Paris that he spoke more often and worked more closely with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian than with any other ally.

It would appear that any acrimony from the Bush years following France's refusal to join the US-led coalition in Iraq, as well as historic tensions linked to France's participation in NATO, has now subsided.

Under Obama, the United States has initiated a rapprochement with France as a key European ally for matters of foreign and defense policy, a trend that should accelerate after Britain's departure from the EU. As discussed above, the Lisbon Treaty defined foreign and defense issues as intergovernmental policies, with member states retaining their own national policies in these areas. Nevertheless, European countries have gradually come to realize that, regardless of the importance of safeguarding national sovereignty, pooling resources towards a larger European foreign policy is likely to enhance their influence on the world stage.

Thus, ever since the Maastricht Treaty insubsequent EU treaties have succeeded in gradually building an independent EU common foreign and defense policy, with the Lisbon Treaty ushering in significant new developments.

The latter created two new offices to represent the EU abroad: Although the latter is still at an embryonic stage, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has played an active role on the world stage, particularly with respect to negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the influx of refugees.

Because it is not a state, the EU has often been able to influence the outcome of negotiations by positioning itself as a neutral referee between conflicting parties. Examples include the EU becoming a member of the so-called 'Quartet'— together with the UN, the US and Russia - which begun in to negotiate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, until Brexit, France and the United Kingdom had been at the core of initiatives for European defense cooperation.

This includes a network of bilateral and multilateral defense agreements such as the Saint-Malo and Lancaster House Accords, as well as the embryonic Common Security and Defense Policy. Over the last two decades, the EU has begun to emerge as a non-negligible security actor on the international stage. Sinceit has successfully carried out 30 peace missions and operations both in Europe and across the globe, including in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Far East, composed of battle groups with soldiers drawn from member states.

Since defense remains an intergovernmental policy area, the CSDP has had to focus on soft security, which involves crisis management, conflict prevention, nation building and post-conflict reconstruction.

Although limited when compared to the hard military power of countries such as France or the UK, the CSDP has nonetheless succeeded in gradually enhancing its profile. For instance, EU peace missions have played a crucial role in countries such as Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia, facilitating the transition from civil war to peace, democracy and the rule of law.

Britain will be leaving the EU at a volatile moment in international politics. Although a rising force on the world stage, the limitations of the EU's soft security capacity were highlighted recently in crises such as the Arab Spring and Russian aggression in Ukraine. In both cases, it was the hard military power wielded independently by member states, either through NATO's intervention in Libya or the bolstering of defense cooperation to deter Russia in Eastern Europe, which played the leading role.

The recent deterioration in international relations underlines that hard power is still an essential aspect of world politics, and that the EU's current capabilities as a soft security actor are no longer sufficient. This situation has led several member states to argue for the urgent need to reinforce EU military cooperation. As a result, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker proposed during his annual address in Strasbourg to create a "permanent EU military headquarters to work towards a common military force" in the years to come.

Fearful of potential duplication with NATO, as well as loss of control in an area considered the core of national sovereignty, Britain had always vetoed any attempt to reinforce EU defense beyond bilateral cooperation. The paradox is that, while Euroscepticism is on the rise, foreign affairs and defense represent two aspects of EU policy that continue to enjoy widespread popular support across Europe. For example, in early October, France and Germany signed an agreement to share an air base and transport planes as a first step in reinforcing EU defense cooperation after Brexit.

Therefore, the intergovernmental method is likely to prove the best pathway forward, and greater permanent structured cooperation between EU defense contributors is likely to emerge in the years to come on this base. These range from conservative or realistic approaches that involve slightly upgrading current institutional arrangements to more ambitious and comprehensive approaches that would enhance both the range and scope of EU defense cooperation.

Nevertheless, France cannot bear on its own the whole burden of EU security, which will require extensive cooperation between all member states. Nevertheless, associatd status is not the same thing as full membership, and Brexit means that the UK will likely cease to be part of the CSDP in the near future.

Thus, if the EU succeeds in developing a more cohesive defense policy, then the United States would need to adapt to this new situation by reinforcing military cooperation with the CSDP in the years to come. Extensive negotiations on what the implications are for NATO, where the US currently enjoys a dominant position, will be necessary.

Despite fears of duplication, however, it is arguable that a stronger EU defense is not only fully compatible with NATO, it may even help to strengthen the alliance at a time of great international instability.

If the EU were to develop a system of permanent structured military cooperation, this would add to NATO's already formidable capacities. More defense in Europe doesn't mean less transatlantic solidarity. As long as the US would be willing to provide the EU with a more important voice within NATO, there would be no danger of weakening the cohesion of the alliance.

This unique platform provides an ideal opportunity for discussing current and future policies, identifying potential divides among member states that could lead to suboptimal policies, and working towards common policies.

Such a group also fills a clear void in Washington. Ambassadors from European members and Canada also reports the relevant insights from these engagements back to their respective capitals to inform the policy debate at home.

The Context The format and the objectives of the program exactly fit an increasing European and American demand to strengthen transatlantic understanding and cooperation in the security field. Indeed, the political consensus between both sides of the Atlantic can no longer be guaranteed when confronting new international challenges. The economic crisis has more specifically affected the development of concrete policy cooperation, as both sides of the Atlantic wish to redefine their military and diplomatic engagements in the world.

Consequently, this context has created a strong need for a high-level discussion among national security and defense strategists on emerging and potential security issues that Europeans and Americans will need to address in the future. These include both issues of grand strategy i.

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Any of these challenges could alter the dynamics of the transatlantic conversation and even the shape of the alliance. That these challenges are not singular snapshots in time but extend and often overlap, converge and reinforce one another is reason for greater urgency in reinvigorating the transatlantic security dialogue. The NATO Summit in Wales has served as a crucial transition point, one which structures the ambitions that transatlantic partners have for the organization, and organizes the roadmap for the new Secretary General.