This Clingendael Report by Peter van Ham, subtitled 'Regulatory Power in the Age of Rising Regions', examines the renaissance of transatlanticism through the prism of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The report argues that the combined regulatory power of the United States and the European Union will offer the transatlantic West a window of opportunity to defend economic interests and political values in an increasingly plurilateral global order.
A comprehensive and ‘living’ TTIP agreement (that works towards close EU–US cooperation at all stages of the regulatory cycle) will form a major step towards a transatlantic common market. Depending on its openness and transparency, the TTIP may well attract non-EU members and widen its scope to other strategically relevant third countries, in Europe and beyond. Depending on its commitment to open regionalism, the TTIP may (jointly with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP) form the basis of a global multilateral trade order for the twenty-first century.
Need to be ambitious
Such an ambitious TTIP can only be achieved if transatlanticism is in good shape, when practical hurdles can be overcome by a shared sense of direction and urgency. The report claims that an ambitious TTIP is an essential tool to give the transatlantic West new strategic purpose. Complex economic interdependence and regulatory harmonization across the Atlantic region will strengthen the collective US–EU bargaining position with emerging trading partners and blocs around the world. The TTIP is an intrinsic part of the debate about the future of the transatlantic West, and should therefore not be examined in isolation of NATO’s future.
Revival of the West?
Although the particulars of the transatlantic West’s revival remain ambivalent (who will join, under what flag, and when?), the omens for such a renaissance could hardly be better. Despite many remaining challenges and difficulties, both the EU and the US should cherish this opportunity to reunite. After decades of ‘benign neglect’, the partners should together acknowledge that both economically and politically they remain joined at the hip. The TTIP is the best vehicle to remind US and EU policy-makers of that reality, and to embrace today’s renaissance of transatlanticism.