by Katharina Dolezalek, Christin Habermann, Connor Kennel, Margaret Mullins, and Mike Ravitsky
The New Transatlantic Declaration (NTD) outlines the objectives and values common to the United States and the European Union. It is inspired by the spirit of collaboration and diversity of thought fostered by the Atlantic Expedition. The NTD provides an outline of the cultural, political, economic, and security gains associated with the transatlantic relationship. It is open to all signatories who desire to build stronger transatlantic ties, whether they are nation states, corporations, or individuals. The NTD is a reference document for business leaders, politicians, NGOs, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders as they advocate on behalf of this relationship.
The NTD is not intended solely to be a reminder of shared values and norms, but is meant to serve as the foundation for a “Transatlantic Plan of Action,” a guideline of various steps that signatories can take to advocate on behalf of the transatlantic relationship. These steps range from inviting others to join/sign the Declaration to more committed actions such as presenting on the NTD to classmates and colleagues, or volunteering with organizations whose values align with those of the NTD. The Transatlantic Plan of Action is meant to be a fluid document that will be shaped by the growing community of signatories to the NTD. Collectively both documents will encourage new actors to acknowledge the importance of the transatlantic relationship and take ownership of shaping this relationship for the next generation.
NEW TRANSATLANTIC DECLARATION
The Transatlantic Declaration of 1 December 1990 and the New Transatlantic Agenda of 5 December 1995 were authored to provide a common cultural framework for the transatlantic nations to address the many new challenges they faced following the Cold War. These declarations further enhanced and operationalized the shared commitments of the transatlantic partners established in the United Nations Charter of 26 June 1945 and the North Atlantic Treaty of 4 April 1949. They provided a comprehensive formal outline of the common goals and potential areas for cooperation between the transatlantic nations. Collectively these documents have served as the foundation for modern day transatlantic relations by establishing the shared objectives of promoting peace, stability and economic development across the Atlantic.
Almost three decades following the signing of the original Transatlantic Declaration, the transatlantic nations once again find themselves confronting new and divisive challenges. While the transatlantic nations are deeply interdependent, populist and anti-globalist sentiments are on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic. The unraveling of these cultural, political and economic ties will present a great challenge to the relative stability currently enjoyed by the transatlantic partners. In this era of increasingly polarizing and nationalist rhetoric, there is an urgent need to reaffirm the common goals that bind together the transatlantic nations.
This New Transatlantic Declaration is intended to reassert the commitment of the transatlantic parties towards promoting social, political, cultural, and economic cooperation that is based on mutual respect, acceptance, and support. The Declaration aims to achieve this by addressing the issues most relevant to the transatlantic relationship of our modern era including issues of peace and security, cultural values, migration, freedom, sovereignty and rule of law.
All levels of stakeholders ranging from nation states to individual civilians are invited to sign this Declaration. It is not exclusive to members of the transatlantic regions. The New Transatlantic Declaration is open to all global signatories who have a vested interest in cultivating the transatlantic relationship and agree to uphold and abide by the principles outlined below.
The signatories of the New Transatlantic Declaration,
Recalling the Transatlantic Declaration of 1 December 1990 and the New Transatlantic Agenda of 5 December 1995,
Considering the historical and deep-rooted relations between the transatlantic partners,
Acknowledging the longstanding ties that have held these transatlantic nations together and allowed them to mutually thrive,
Reaffirming the importance of a common cultural framework that inherently unites both sides of the Atlantic,
Promoting a social, political, cultural, and economic cooperation within the Atlantic region that is based on mutual respect, acceptance, and support,
Emphasizing the need of an inclusive transatlantic agenda by inviting new stakeholders into transatlantic relations,
Agree to uphold and value the following principles:
PEACE AND SECURITY
Peace is the highest achievement of the Transatlantic Community. It must be maintained to ensure the security and economic prosperity of the transatlantic area and to enable the reign of freedom.
Security is a requirement to establish and maintain peace in the transatlantic area. To ensure a safe and secure environment, the parties express their commitment to harness diplomacy and dialogue to resolve conflicts, and to avoid violence and the use of force in the arbitration of intra- and inter-state disagreement.
A commitment to security must extend beyond a desire and commitment to avoid violence. The signatories hence commit to protect environmental and health standards. The signatories pledge to reducing the human impact on climate change. They recognize that long-term stability and security is dependent on a standard of living supported by an inhabitable environment — not only in the transatlantic area but around the world.
The signatories condemn disinformation campaigns and the use of cyber and information warfare to infringe on the national sovereignty and to undermine the social contract between democratically elected governments and their people. The signatories acknowledge the importance of truth in strengthening the transatlantic partnership.
Finally, the signatories recognize the importance of cultural diversity and accessible and enabled inclusion of migrants and immigrants as essential to continued economic growth and democratic strength.
Special protection must be forwarded to the most vulnerable groups of society, especially, but not exclusively, born children, indigenous nations and peoples, people with disabilities, and persons who have been granted international protection. Also individuals or communities who are endangered on the basis of their identity must receive a special protection if they run the risk of being discriminated against.
Human dignity is unalienable. Every person under the authority or the control of the signatory parties should be entitled to the rights, freedoms, and the obligations set out in this Declaration.
Everyone under the authority or control of the parties should be treated equally. There must be no discrimination based on the ethnicity, origin, political opinions, native language, gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental abilities or social status, or any other identity that subjects one to discrimination.
Everyone under the authority or control of the parties must respect the value of democracy. Efforts to undermine or abolish the democratic system will be condemned by the parties. No person can quote the right of equality and non-discrimination to justify efforts to undermine or abolish democracy.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
The cultural, social, and political diversity of each nation shall be regarded as the transatlantic community’s greatest strength as it emphasizes tolerance, freedom, pluralism, and diverse cultural resources that contribute to national security.
Migrants entering the transatlantic region or moving within its perimeters are and have always been integral and intrinsic to the transatlantic identity. As such, the cultural, social, and political diversity migrants bring forth shall be regarded as an opportunity for each nation, its residents, and the transatlantic community as a whole.
Every person under the authority or the control of the signatories recognizes the positive and inevitable contributions migrants have made besides their cultural impact, especially in the areas of sustainable economic growth.
In accordance with core international human rights treaties, signatories to this declaration must protect the human rights of all migrants and refugees, regardless of their status. Thus, every person under the authority or the control of the signatories shall aid in securing that migrants and refugees are treated in an equal manner, i.e. humane, compassionate and just.
Migrants not native to the transatlantic region but residing within its territory shall uphold the values and laws of the respective region.
Inclusion is the highest objective. This necessitates acceptance, openness and adaptability from both, the resident community and the newly arrived migrants.
Freedom is an irrefutable right which must be upheld and protected by the parties to this Declaration. Freedom, however, is only granted as long as it does not restrict or undermine others’ freedoms and rights. This includes but is not limited to:
Freedom of speech and expression, conscience, and opinion.
Freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Freedom to choose and practice, in public and in private, any religion or belief one freely and conscientiously chooses, and freedom to discard and change any religion or belief.
Freedom to partake in national and transnational political, social, cultural or economic processes.
Freedom to attend educational programs, to choose an occupation and to access public services.
A further integration of transatlantic political, cultural, social, and economic spheres shall not be regarded as an attempt to replace each country’s unique identity but as an addendum that unites while respecting the sovereignty and integrity of each party.
Each party to this Declaration shall demonstrate acceptance of the other parties’ differing approaches to political, cultural, social, economic, or legal matters. Each party shall display a willingness to learn and adapt to each other’s policies.
All parties to this Declaration must be aware of their shared responsibility towards other nations, individuals, entities, and organizations not subject to this Declaration. The transatlantic partners shall decide not only in their shared best interest but always consider other partners and states as well.
RULE OF LAW
Everyone under the authority or control of the parties as well as the parties themselves can be held accountable for their actions under their respective constitutions.
The resolution of disputes must be accessible and impartial for every person or entity.
Laws have to be just. Every person or entity is equal before the law. Everyone has the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial court. The sentence or penalty must be commensurate with the severity of the crime committed. The principle of equity needs to be respected.
Governments shall hold all discussions, meetings, and legislative procedures in a manner that is open, transparent, and accessible to the public insofar as it does not interfere with matters of national security.
The signatories to this Declaration seek greater transatlantic understanding at the grassroots level and within all facets of society. This document is a reaffirmation of the shared cultural, political, economic, and security interests between the transatlantic parties. In addition to highlighting the mutually-beneficial nature of this relationship at the bilateral level, all parties to this Declaration recognize that broader international stability hinges on the success of these relations. The undersigned pledge to embody the spirit of this document and support the principles of democracy, rule of law, and social equality. They remain open to exploring new policies, engaging in dialogue, and considering conflicting points of view, and hope to encourage a new generation of transatlantic stakeholders to take ownership of this relationship to help guide and steward it into the future.