The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.
Key summit deliverables include three major new trade initiatives. The leaders agreed to:
- create a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft
- engage in discussions to resolve differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium by the end of the year
- establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU. President Joe Biden represented the United States. It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US President to the EU institutions since 2017.
At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement.
COVID-19, health preparedness, sustainable global recovery
We want to send COVID-19 to the history books, and there is only one way: international cooperation. We must deliver on this, by making sure that the world’s population has access to vaccines.
President Charles Michel
The EU and the US committed to continuing to support the COVAX Facility and encourage more donors to make two billion vaccine doses available worldwide by late 2021. They aspire to provide enough vaccine doses to inoculate two-thirds of the world’s population by the end of 2022.
The leaders highlighted the creation of a Joint EU–US COVID Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce. Its objective is to expand vaccine and therapeutics production capacity by:
- building new production facilities for vaccines and therapeutics
- maintaining open and secure supply chains
- avoiding any unnecessary export restrictions
- encouraging voluntary sharing of know-how and technology
The EU and the US will reinforce cooperation on reforming the World Health Organization (WHO). The leaders welcomed the idea of assessing the benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.
Learning the lessons from COVID also means learning how to prepare for future pandemics and health crises. We discussed a possible treaty on pandemics.
President Charles Michel
The leaders also called for progress on a transparent, evidence-based, expert-led and WHO-convened phase-2 study on the origins of COVID-19 that is free from interference.
The leaders welcomed G7 discussions on building back better for the world, orienting development finance tools towards challenges such as creating resilient infrastructure and technologies, and addressing the impact of climate change.
The EU and the US intend to jointly drive forward a sustainable and inclusive global recovery, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will continue providing assistance to countries in need, address debt vulnerabilities and stimulate domestic reforms and increased private investment.
The leaders agreed to establish a joint EU-US experts’ working group for the resumption of non-essential safe and sustainable travel between the EU and the United States.
They welcomed the progress made in discussions on additional EU member states benefitting from visa-free travel to the US, and agreed to continue this dialogue.
Protecting our planet and fostering green growth
The EU and the US are committed to the Paris Agreement and its effective and strengthened implementation. To provide an effective platform for cooperation in this regard, the leaders committed to establishing an EU-US High-Level Climate Action Group.
We intend to lead by example by becoming net-zero greenhouse gas economies by no later than 2050 and implementing our respective enhanced 2030 targets / Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). We resolve to engage with our international partners to achieve an ambitious outcome at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), making every effort to keep a 1.5-degree limit on global temperature within reach.
EU-US summit statement
The leaders committed to rapidly scaling up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity and to an overwhelmingly decarbonised power system in the 2030s, consistent with the EU’s and the US’s respective 2030 NDCs and 2050 net-zero commitments.
The leaders resolved to increase their cooperation on transition towards a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy. They intend to work towards a Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance that would foster cooperation on the development and deployment of green technologies, as well as to promote markets to scale such technologies.
The EU and the US are very determined to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and take urgent action to address its drivers. The leaders committed to the goal of conserving or protecting at least 30% of global land and 30% of global oceans by 2030. They share the goal of jointly promoting a successful and ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP15). Furthermore, the leaders committed to working together to protect the world’s oceans, including by combating marine litter.
Strengthening trade, investment and technological cooperation
The EU and the US have the largest economic relationship in the world. They are committed to growing their bilateral trade and investment relationship and to upholding and reforming the rules-based multilateral trading system. The leaders said they intended to use trade to help fight climate change, protect the environment, promote workers’ rights, expand resilient and sustainable supply chains and create decent jobs.
We resolve to stand together to protect our businesses and workers from unfair trade practices, in particular those posed by non-market economies that are undermining the world trading system.
EU-US summit statement
To provide an effective platform for cooperation, the leaders established a high-level EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC’s objectives include:
- growing the bilateral trade and investment relationship
- avoiding new unnecessary technical barriers to trade
- strengthening global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains
- cooperating on compatible and international standards development
- facilitating regulatory policy
- promoting innovation and leadership by US and European firms
Under the TTC, both partners commit to building an EU-US partnership on the rebalancing of global supply chains in semiconductors, with a view to enhancing security of supply in the EU and the US and boosting both partners’ capacity to design and produce the most powerful and resource-efficient semiconductors.
In parallel with the TTC, the EU and the US intend to establish an EU-US Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue that would focus on approaches to competition policy and enforcement, and increased cooperation in the tech sector.
The summit also delivered the prospect of resolving long-standing trade disputes.
- The leaders welcomed having reached an Understanding on a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft, reflecting a new transatlantic relationship in this area.
- The leaders also agreed to engage in discussions to allow the resolution of existing differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium before the end of the year
Moreover, the EU and the US are determined to foster a fair, sustainable and modern international tax system and cooperate to reach a global consensus by mid-2021on the question of taxation of multinational companies within the OECD.
The leaders also agreed to work cooperatively on efforts to achieve a meaningful reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This involves advancing the proper functioning of the WTO’s negotiating function and dispute settlement system, which will require long-standing issues to be addressed.
Building a more democratic, peaceful and secure world
Together, the EU and the US are an anchor for democracy, peace and security around the world. They are united in their desire to peacefully prevent and resolve conflicts, uphold the rule of law and international law, and promote human rights for all, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls. The two partners intend to support democracy across the globe, including by defending media freedom, advancing a free and open internet, fostering responsible behaviour in cyberspace and tackling disinformation.
The leaders resolved to lead by example at home, and to partner in the Summit for Democracy, committing to concrete actions to defend universal human rights, prevent democratic backsliding and fight corruption.
The EU and the US intend to closely consult and cooperate on the full range of issues regarding China, which include elements of cooperation, competition, and systemic rivalry. They intend to continue coordinating on their shared concerns, including ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet, the erosion of autonomy and democratic processes in Hong Kong, economic coercion, disinformation campaigns and regional security issues.
We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions. We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
EU-US summit statement
The EU and the US also intend also to coordinate on their constructive engagement with China on issues such as climate change and non-proliferation, and on certain regional matters.
The EU and the US stand united in their principled approach towards Russia. They are ready to respond decisively to its repeating pattern of negative behaviour and harmful activities. The leaders agreed to establish an EU-US high-level dialogue on Russia to coordinate our policies and actions in this regard.
The leaders also addressed a wide range of other pressing geopolitical, foreign policy and security issues of common concern.
They expressed their determination to continue to stand in support of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the EU’s Eastern partners, and to support the reform path of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. They resolved to work towards long-term peace, resilience and stability in the South Caucasus.
The EU and the US stand with the people of Belarus and their demands for human rights and democracy.
We resolve to hold the Lukashenka regime to account for its escalating attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for endangering aviation safety through the unprecedented and unacceptable forced diversion of an EU passenger airplane under false pretences, and the subsequent arrest of a journalist as part of a continuing assault on opposition voices and the freedom of the press.
EU-US summit statement
Moreover, the EU and the US intend to further strengthen their joint engagement in the Western Balkans, and resolved to work hand-in-hand for sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where differences should be settled through dialogue in good faith and in accordance with the international law of the sea. The EU and the US also aim to establish a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with a democratic Turkey.
The leaders welcomed the ceasefire in the conflict in the Middle East and expressed their grave concern about the political, human rights, security and humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sahel countries, in particular about the growing political and ethnic polarisation throughout Ethiopia that threatens the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The leaders also discussed specific financial and development support for African countries.
They also discussed the situations in the Indo-Pacific, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in particular Venezuela, and resolved to work together to maintain the Arctic as a region of peace and stability.
The leaders emphasised their support for the ongoing diplomatic efforts and negotiations in Vienna aimed at facilitating the return of the US to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as well as the full and effective implementation of the deal by Iran and the US.
Finally, the leaders welcomed the EU’s invitation to the US to join the PESCO Military Mobility project as an important step towards a closer EU-US partnership in security and defence. The leaders committed to working towards an Administrative Arrangement for the US with the European Defence Agency, and agreed to work together to raise the level of NATO-EU ambition to further strengthen this mutually reinforcing key strategic partnership.
Compliments of the Council of the EU and the EU Council.