“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.” This is one of the key conclusions from the first “Atlantic Expedition”, a fellowship and exchange program organized by the Atlantische Initiative e.V. to modernize the German-American partnership by empowering young leaders from a wide variety of professional, regional and cultural backgrounds.
A diverse group of 30 US and German fellows qualified for the first Atlantic Expedition through an essay competition. Then they debated the state of transatlantic relations, common challenges, the foundations of the German-American partnership, and the entire European-US agenda, but they also brainstormed policy recommendations in online working groups. Afterwards they travelled together to Hamburg, Dresden and Berlin to discuss their ideas with political, military, and economic decision-makers, experts, NGO- and opinion leaders. The paper “Transatlantic Relations in a New Era: The Next Generation’s Approach” is the result of this intensive online and offline process and has been co-written by all 30 fellows. Download the PDF or click to the various chapters:
- Introduction: A New Narrative for the 21st Century
- An Incremental and Inclusive Approach to TTIP
- Bridging the Atlantic: Towards a New Education Agenda
- Toward a Decentralized Framework for Climate Engagement
- Transatlantic Security: Improving Burden-Sharing
- Sharing Standards on Development, Refugee, and Integration
- Technology as the Driver for Transatlantic Collaboration
Another group of 30 fellows for the second expedition to Houston and Chicago will build on this work and create an Atlantic Action Plan, which will be presented in Berlin in spring 2018. Apply by June 18, 2017. The goal is to modernize the transatlantic partnership in the mid- and long-term and adapt to new international challenges and changing national demographics, politics and interests.
It’s important to brainstorm and discuss ideas that could make the transatlantic partnership great again and fit for purpose rather than getting distracted and disappointed by the current state of German-American relations as presented in mass and social media, which focus on the president and chancellor and often exaggerate.
The Atlantic Expedition fellows did that. In this paper , they are thinking ahead and make many policy recommendations for moving the German-American partnership forward. They see untapped potential in cooperation with state and local governments, business, research institutions, and NGOs to share best practices and find innovative solutions for economic growth, climate change, energy, education, populism, integration, technology and data protection, while asking the federal governments to pursue an incremental and patient approach on free trade and defense burden-sharing.
“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.”
“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.”
“The goal of a comprehensive trade agreement between the US and the European Union (EU) should be maintained as a cornerstone of the transatlantic partnership. However, rather than advocating for a single large trade deal, we favor an incremental approach under a common framework. (…) To win over skeptics’ hearts, the agreement could be pitched as a first step towards “taking back control” of the globalized economy”
“Commit to establishing trade adjustment programs for workers and industries that are shown to be adversely affected by the agreement during the review process.”
“We recommend creating an online platform accessible to educational institutions at all levels that allows students and teachers to collaborate. (…) We see the platform as a convenient model for increasing mutual understanding and peer-to-peer level learning.”
“To broaden the spectrum of groups that participate in the transatlantic dialog, we propose to establish a transatlantic working class exchange program.“
NATO pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defense:
“The US should be patient as its allies work towards this goal. It is unrealistic for countries currently spending around 1% on defense to reach 2% within a year or two. (…) This would be politically infeasible and such a drastic increase might not be effectively spent on areas that actually enhance Alliance security.
“In the long term, we recommend that NATO develop a burden sharing score. This score will serve as a comprehensive measure for countries’ contribution to the Alliance and ease the over-reliance on monetary contributions as the only means of contributing to NATO.”
Devlopment, Migration, Integration:
“We believe the US and Europe need to develop a holistic approach toward their development, migration, and integration policies, as success in each field is interlinked.”
“The American and European aid agencies should improve their coordination mechanisms, to more systematically and formally improve synergies in their activities, while reducing programmatic and funding overlap, duplication, and competition.”
“Successful American NGOs in integration work should be committed to sharing best practices and partnering with German non-profits.”
“We are promoting a transatlantic technology infrastructure that will enable industries to innovate and grow internationally in lock-step with both users and governments.”
“Therefore, we recommend an update to the very successful “Sister Cities” program, growing them into “smart” trial tech cities and retaining their mission of cultural exchange while testing new innovations in a controlled and intentional environment.”
The Atlantische Initiative would like to thank the financial supporters of this project: The Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany with Funds through the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy (BMWi), the Friede Springer Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Microsoft, and the Haniel Foundation.
We also very much appreciate the wonderful hospitality, expertise, and feedback provided by the State Chancellery of Saxony, the Helmut Schmidt University, the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College, Eurogate GmbH & Co. KGaA, M. M. Warburg & Co., the German Red Cross, Frauenkirche Dresden, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, the US Embassy Berlin, and WeQ! We would like to thank in particular Dr. Fritz Jaeckel, Thomas Horn, Marion Gündel, Niels Annen, Moritz Altner, Rear Admiral Carsten Stawitzki, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hülcher, Captain Simon Rüschkamp, Captain Johannes Merten, Captain Tobias Klasing, Professor Dr. Klaus Beckmann, Dr. Martin Nassua, Volker Schlegel, Gunther Bonz, Dr. Henneke Lütgerath and Dr. Christian Jasperneite, Angela Böttcher, Annegret Schlurecke, Dr. Eva Sturm, Sarah Listner, Professor Dr. Werner Patzelt, Verena Wielens, Peter Darmstadt, Lars Werthmann, Herr Truch, Michael Nowak, Dr. Georg Schulze Zumkley, Henning Speck, Stefanie Buder, Dr. Christian Forneck, Claudia von Cossel, Angelika Pendzich-von Winter, Jacob Schrot, Dr. Julian Voje, Johannes von Ahlefeldt, Stephan Liening, Michael Vorländer, Shelley Oberer, Fried Heye-Allers, Christine Hegenbart, Michael Hack, Julia Clajus, Torsten Menzel, Alejandro Baez, Scott Robinson, Craig Pike, Marlen Klaws, Moritz Ettl, Dr. Klaus Scharioth, and Christoph von Marshall.