EPRSLibrary By / November 7, 2012

Transatlantic relations under Obama, 2008-2012

In 2008, the election of US President Obama raised hopes in Europe that transatlantic relations would improve dramatically. Four years…

Image Copyright vipflash, 2012. Used under licence from Shutterstock.com
Barack Obama speaking
Image Copyright vipflash, 2012.
Used under licence from Shutterstock.com

In 2008, the election of US President Obama raised hopes in Europe that transatlantic relations would improve dramatically. Four years later, most Europeans indeed consider relations to be “good” or “mixed”. However, some hopes have given way to realism, for example in the field of climate change.

The Obama administration has given multilateralism a higher priority, but has also reminded Europe that it needs to take a greater role in global leadership and rely less on US military capabilities. Obama has also rebalanced US attention towards Asia and the Pacific.

EU-US Summits take place annually. In 2011, leaders agreed to explore the possibility of a transatlantic free trade and investment agreement.

The European Parliament has occasionally clashed with US interests during this time. It rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) outright, as well as initial versions of agreements on exchange of banking data (SWIFT) and passenger name records.

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