The global power shift highlights the risk of a structural transatlantic drift. Yet there is an unprecedented presence and demand for more European engagement across world regions, most of all in the Americas. As an overall middle-income region, the successful efforts to overcome entrenched conflicts, the march to democracy, socio-economic progress, and the fundamental values we share make the countries of the Americas partners of choice for Europe when tackling global challenges. The complexity and connectivity of our times are enhancing interactions in the wider Atlantic space, and the EU has only to tap this potential.
The transatlantic bond with the United States and Canada is unique, and rests on solid political, cultural, economic, and security foundations. The opportunity before us is to develop an even stronger and sounder relationship, in which the assets of all are developed and put at the service of common interests. With regard to the US, security and the economy are two pillars which merit further deepening. In security terms, this means that the EU and its Member States are called to shoulder more responsibility for their neighbourhood, and further develop European defence capabilities. At the same time, as NATO refocuses on territorial defence, CSDP can work with NATO to sharpen its focus on crisis management and hybrid threats. In economic terms, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a potentially win-win project that can create jobs and business opportunities, eliminate red tape, and thus stimulate growth. An ambitious and open TTIP would not just be a free trade and investment agreement. It would be a strategic endeavour that, by establishing the largest free-trade area in the world, may inject momentum into the development of global rules in areas where multilateral negotiations have stalled.
Expanding Atlantic cooperation also means deepening relations with Latin America and the Caribbean through bilateral partnerships, inter-regional relations and in multilateral fora. There is more EU investment in Latin America than in Russia, India and China combined, while cultural ties and migratory flows are strong in both directions. Steps to strengthen ties with individual countries and with organisations such as CELAC, SICA, CARICOM, MERCOSUR and UNASUR reflect these trends.
The EU needs to continue investing in a strong and sound privileged relationship across the Atlantic through closer cooperation between the EU and NATO and through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. At the same time, we need to deepen relations with Latin America and the Caribbean through bilateral partnerships and inter-regional arrangements.