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Geostrategy 21 Dec 2015

TTIP: The geostrategic challenges of the agreement

Up until now, many things have been written about the possible consequences – positive and not so positive – of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US for the European Union. What has not been discussed so widely are the agreement’s geopolitical repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Since the Second World War, Europe and the US have worked to build a solid alliance. The progress enabled by the Marshall Plan, the formation of the NATO and the economic ties with the EU heralded an unprecedented period of transatlantic cooperation. And this partnership is essential to face the pressing global challenges that lie ahead of us today.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP, offers a great opportunity to tighten the ties between Europe and the US. For this reason, it is necessary to analyze it from a political point of view, besides the economic point of view.

Is it good or bad for citizens?

The TTIP will yield benefits on both sides of the Atlantic. How? At two different levels:

1. Benefits through trade: Economic Partnership

The TTIP is best way for the US and the EU to build a more integrated, broader single market, which offers citizens a path towards a better economic future, in a world economy subject to an increasingly fast globalization process.

Thus, improved access to markets and regulatory cooperation will stimulate economic efficiency and employment. But the TTIP is aiming higher, at setting new trade and investment rules, with a special focus on digital trade and copyright protection, and on the harmonization of regulations for the creation of global businesses.

From a strategic point of view, the transatlantic treaty offers the opportunity to strengthen Europe’s and the Atlantic Axis’ position. The TTIP is a joint EU and US gamble to remain political leaders in a world whose center of gravity is moving eastwards, towards Asia.

2. Benefits through an Alliance for Security

Often, the general perception is that the biggest challenges we face are of an economic nature. But the US and the EU also share challenges such as fighting against natural disasters, Jihadi terrorism, nuclear proliferation, or refugee crises, with scores of civilians fleeing from countries at war.

Global threats demand global solutions and the best way to guarantee our security is to find a way to forge tighter alliances. And the truth is that Europe and the US are stronger when they work together.

That is why it is of vital importance, especially taking into account that the TTIP promotes the western model: Free market and individual initiative vs. a planned economy model. In most cases, open markets and greater security go hand in hand. However, sometimes, Europe has to be ready to prioritize security over the economy, as in the case of the sanctions imposed on Russia in the Ukraine crisis.

Finally, at this stage of the TTIP negotiation process, Europe must take the opportunity to improve and strengthen its transatlantic partnership. The TTIP is an one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen the competitiveness of transatlantic economies, and improve the lives of both blocks’ citizens. The greater challenge the EU faces today is to capitalize the current political momentum. And it has been afforded a great chance to do so: A window of opportunity that must be seized.

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