As the world becomes more and more globalized, partnerships become more and more important in constituting alliances, and even identities. With Brexit threatening the European integration project, a joint policy regarding the transatlantic partnership can prove to be an important means in strengthening the European Union. Since the United States of America are Germany’s closest ally outside of Europe, this specific transatlantic relationship holds even more importance, and, combined with Germany’s strong position in the European Union, can influence the future transatlantic partnership between the EU and the US in general. Hence, it is of great benefit to create a new narrative for a modern transatlantic partnership that can significantly impact our future.
Using global progress as the strategic hook for change, we can lead this modernization and convince the public to get on board and work towards a more sustainable and more integrative future. By forming common values and interests as part of the new narrative, we can tackle global issues together.
Drawing from the Atlantic Memo of the first group of fellows, there are three main issues that should be prioritized in my point of view when it comes to modernizing the transatlantic partnership: climate & environmental policies, education and immigration & humanitarian aid.
Looking at climate & environmental policies, it is evident why this needs to be addressed. Especially in light of the recent developments, particularly the American exit from the Paris Agreement, it is even more important to work together on climate engagement on a decentralized platform. As Trump’s break with the agreement led to dismay on the other side of the Atlantic, particularly in Germany, concrete actions need to be taken by local actors in order to continue pursuing the original goal set by the Paris agreement and dealing with climate change. Expertise sharing, as already proposed in the Atlantic Memo, could prove to be an effective measure.
Regarding education, it could prove beneficial to foster exchange on more levels. This means more exchange of students at high school and undergraduate levels, but also graduate, PhD and postdoc levels. This can be achieved by creating further partnerships between institutions and providing more scholarships and other financial means to encourage students to go abroad. Besides academia, non-academic exchange, e.g. during apprenticeships or in early careers, can also strengthen the transatlantic community. Possible measures at a policy level include a facilitation of work visas, e.g. opening up the J-1 visa to non-academic exchange during an apprenticeship, or extending it to three years post university graduation. Furthermore, the Working Class Exchange Program, as mentioned in the Atlantic Memo, complements these ideas.
Concerning immigration & humanitarian aid, it is crucial to promote integration and inclusion. One way to do this is to empower NGOs as well as local communities and foster their cooperation for integration, as suggested in the Atlantic Memo. An exchange of ideas across the Atlantic would help to form new ideas of how to further inclusion as the US is traditionally a more multicultural and immigration-oriented country than Germany.
By addressing these issues collectively can the transatlantic partnership progress towards a more sustainable, strengthened future and stand tall in the globalized world. Among the most impacted in the long-run by current issues, we, the young generation, need to lead this modernization so that we can make sure it continues into the next one.