EU-US Co-operation by Sector

Justice and Home affairs cooperation:

EU-US cooperation in the Justice and Home affairs sector is high on the Agenda. At the 2009 Summit, the EU and the US reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing their policy and operational cooperation on Justice and Home affairs matters. There are regular high-level meetings in the field to discuss: border protection, migration, asylum and refugee issues visa-free travel across the Atlantic, information sharing for law enforcement purposes to address international terrorism (in line with the EU’s counter-terrorism strategy of December 2005), international organised crime and drug trafficking.

A number of agreements have been concluded in this area between the EU and the US: the Agreements on Extradition and on Mutual Legal Assistance, the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) Agreement, the new Agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records . Negotiations are also ongoing on data protection with regard to the transfer of information for the purpose of law enforcement. A new initiative was also launched on 5 December 2012: the Global Alliance against child sexual abuse online, a worldwide network of 48 countries.

 

Energy and Energy Security:

Energy security has become a key component of the EU’s foreign policy agenda. EU dependence on hydrocarbon imports (oil and gas) is currently at 80% and 50% respectively but it is EU policy to cap and reduce the consumption of hydrocarbons in favour of alternative and renewable sources of energy, and to use energy more efficiently (20-20-20 policy). The development of renewable energy is thus a central element of EU energy policy. The EU has over the years intensified its cooperation with the USA in the areas of energy security, energy regulatory policy and energy technologies research.

At their Summit of June 2005, the EU and the US set ambitious goals for improved energy efficiency and a higher share of alternative energy, with a view to enhancing energy security by reducing vulnerability to disruption of supply (Declaration on energy security, energy efficiency, renewables and economic development). The 2007 summit issued a Joint Statement on Energy Efficiency, Security and Climate Change , which established a direct link between energy policy and the objective of combating climate change.

At the Summit of November 2009 , both sides launched the EU-US Energy Council , a mechanism at Ministerial level featuring three permanent working groups in the areas of Global Energy Security and Markets, Energy Policies and Deployment, and Energy Technologies Cooperation. The fourth and most recent meeting took place on 5 December 2012 in Brussels (read the Joint Press Statement ).

 

Environment cooperation:

At the 2006 EU-USsummit in Vienna, the EU and the USA established an EU-US High Level Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. It built on existing bilateraland multilateral initiatives and the G-8 Gleneagles Plan of Action for Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development . The 2007 Summit underlined our mutual interest in tackling climate change and promoting actions aimed at reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while supporting economic growth.

At the 2009 Summit , the EU and the US reaffirmed the importance of expanding cooperation on climate change particularly through the promotion of an ambitious and comprehensive international climate change agreement and the strengthening of efforts to develop strong and well-functioning carbon markets. The Commission is committed to achieving a high level of environmental protection, as shown by the ambitious environmental agenda set out in the proposal for the new EU Environment Action Programme to 2020. Tackling global environmental challenges requires commitment from all players and a constructive dialogue amongst partners in bilateral and multilateral fora. The EU and the USA maintain regular bilateral contacts on environmental issues in order to promote a better understanding of each other’s policies and legislation.

 

Science and Technology cooperation:

The EU-US Science and Technology Agreementwhich entered into force in 1998, was once renewed in 2004and again in 2009, extended until October 2013. It is a key instrument in expanding transatlantic scientific co-operation. The agreement offers a broad framework for collaboration in all research areas under the FP7 including environmental science, information and communication technologies, cleaner energy sources, biotechnology and nano-science. Basic principles underpinning the agreement include: mutual benefit, reciprocal participation opportunities, equitable and fair treatment and exchange of information. The US Department of State is in the lead on the US side and all major US research funding agencies and departments are involved. Nuclear research fields are covered in separate agreements.

The European Research Framework Programme (FP) promoted transnational collaborative activities that were open to scientists and engineers from all parts of the world and included fellowships to allow European researchers to work abroad and non-European researchers to come work in Europe. Under the cooperation programme of FP7, for the period 2007-2013, there were around 250 instances of US participation (DG Research and Innovation). These actions further strengthened EU-US scientific links. As of 2014, there is a new financing instrument called Horizon 2020, implementing the “Innovation Union”, securing Europe’s global competitiveness with simpler rules than the current FP7.

At the 2009 Summit, the EU and the US established the EU-US Energy Council Working Group on Technology, Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) [26 KB]. This Working Group aims at accelerating the research, development and demonstration of new clean energy supply technologies and new energy efficiency technologies, leveraging the very substantial RD&D budgets and laboratory expertise on both sides.

 

Education and Training:

Educational activities are vital not only for strengthening the links between young people in Europe and in the USA but also for enhancing our economic relationship. The EU–US Higher Education and Training Agreement launched in 1995 at the same time the New Transatlantic Agenda has proved to be an excellent cooperation tool and was renewed in 2001 and in 2006 for an 8 year period. The aim of the agreement was to encourage innovative cooperation projects between EU and US educational institutions, in particular through joint study programmes which provided a framework for mobility for students wishing to spend part of their studies on the other side of the Atlantic or joint transatlantic degrees. The agreement expired at the end of 2013.

As of 2014, education cooperation continues using different tools, under the new programme called Erasmus +. Joint Master Degrees for instance provide scholarships for graduates and scholars from all over the world to participate in them and supports the establishment of partnerships and exchanges with higher education institutions outside the EU.

 

Transport and Aviation:

The First Stage Air Transport Agreementbetween the EU and the US took effect in March 2008. Following the launch of second-stage negotiations in May 2008, seven further rounds of negotiations and two EU–US Aviation Forums on Liberalisation and Labour negotiators completed the negotiations with the initialling of the Second Stage Agreementon 25th March 2010. This agreement includes substantial benefits for both sides by providing for considerable further including additional investment and market access opportunities, as well as strengthening the framework of cooperation on regulatory issues, for example in the areas of environment, safety, security and on the social dimension of EU-US aviation relations.

In addition, the EU and the US signed a Cooperation Agreement on Civil Aviation Safety in 2011 which promotes a high degree of safety in air transport and ensure harmonisation between the US and the EU as regards monitoring of aeronautics products, environmental testing and monitoring of maintenance facilities and a number of other areas.

 

Development cooperation:

At the 2009 Summit, the EU and the US agreed to reinvigorate their development dialogue and cooperation in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of their development assistance (Statement on Development Dialogue and Cooperation ). They agreed to re-launch the High Level Consultative Group on Development (HLCGD) and to hold annual meetings at ministerial level to advance and guide EU-US cooperation at policy level as well as the achievements of results in the field. Three common priorities were identified: food security and agricultural development, climate change and the Millennium Development Goals. At the inaugural meeting of the ministerial EU-US High Level Consultative Group on Development (Washington, 25 April 2010), roadmaps for EU-US cooperation in 2010 and 2011 on the three initial priority topics were adopted.

 

Non-proliferation:

At the 2009 Summit, the EU and the US agreed a joint Declaration on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament highlighting the need to preserve and strengthen the relevant multilateral measures and in particular the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, expressing support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and calling for the start of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. They also reiterated the necessity for Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfil their international nuclear obligations.

At the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (Washington, 12-13 April), the EU reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen nuclear security and its support for all international instruments aimed at achieving this goal. The EU committed itself to strive for further coordination, consistency and coherence in its nuclear security related work, in close cooperation with international organisations and all interested countries. Under the 2010 Agreement in the field of nuclear material safeguards and security research and development, there have been joint steering committee meetings between the EU JRC and the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).