This paper has put forth policy recommendations that frame a new narrative for transatlantic relations. Fellows from both sides of the Atlantic were selected to represent both professional and regional diversity of their respective countries as well as held worldviews from across the political spectrum. The shared passion for modernizing, reinvigorating and improving transatlantic relations led to detailed and innovative recommendations across different fields of policy. The Marshall Plan was definitive for the US-Germany partnership over 60 years ago, but now a more dynamic and varied partnership is needed. Federal governments should no longer be viewed as the sole source for action and solutions both because of the current administration in the US and a continued power shift towards NGOs and local actors. Engagement at the subnational level is ever more critical.
Our team embraces this shift because cooperation between non-governmental and local actors can provide innovative solutions to age-old problems. In energy, partnerships in the research community and industry can foster quicker transitions to renewable energy. In technology, US-German sister cities can have “smart” objectives of testing cutting edge products. In education, private institutions can develop a digital international curriculum that enhances learning on both sides of the Atlantic. And for integration efforts, community centers and grassroots organizations can share best practices to improve language acquisition and citizenship rates.
This paper advocates for widening the demographics that benefit from transatlantic relations. Multinational corporations and high level government officials should not be the focal points of US-German cooperation. In the economic sphere, we emphasize how small businesses benefit from a US-EU trade agreement. We also understand the need to combat populism in both regions through promoting exchange programs among working class people, especially in the energy sector.
We understand the global implications of the transatlantic relationship. High trade standards and greater security-development coordination between the US and EU would greatly influence other nations. Ultimately, however, we see individuals as having a definitive role in the future of transatlantic relations. In this digital age, individuals have more resources than ever to connect with their counterparts across the Atlantic. Individual citizens of the US, Germany and across Europe can easily request that the local government they pay taxes to, the company they regularly consume from, or the non-profit they volunteer with, seek out partnerships with Western counterparts in order to realize our common goals of international democracy, security and prosperity.
We hope our thoughts are found to be useful. They are meant to lead to both discussion and action. Our mission to inspire passion for and improve transatlantic relations will never be fully accomplished, but will remain a constant, exciting work in progress.