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Transatlantic Conference 2021: in review

30 Mar 2021
All Committees
Transatlantic Task Force

This year’s Transatlantic Week, set against the need to rebuild a world economy devastated by the impact of COVID-19 and to ensure future healthy, connected and sustainable societies, was themed ‘Global leadership: A transatlantic opportunity’. The activities of the week opened on Wednesday, 24 March for the first time entirely digitised with a keynote by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

transatlantic conference summary article

President von der Leyen stressed that the two sides of the Atlantic are once again speaking the same language, of cooperation in international affairs and underscored that now is ‘time for the Atlantic to once again become the beating heart of global cooperation’. You can read the entire transcript of President von der Leyen’s speech on the European Commission website.

The first day of the conference served as the launching point for the Transatlantic Economy 2021 report, done in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which includes the latest facts and figures about the EU-US economic relationship. This year’s edition features insights into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, prospects for the economic recovery, Brexit, relations with China and the transatlantic energy economy. Research for the report was conducted by Daniel Hamilton and Joseph Quinlan for the Wilson Center’s Global Europe Program and the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. You can learn more about the speakers and sessions in our day one summary article.

On the second day of the conference, there was a shift in focus from trade to climate and sustainability. European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson delivered the opening keynote speech, reaffirming that climate change is a priority for the EU and expressed her satisfaction that the US is ‘back in the game’ in reference to the Biden administration re-joining the Paris Agreement. The full speech is available on the European Commission website, and the full write up on day two speakers and discussions can be found in our day two summary article.

Finally, on the third day of the conference the focused shifted towards the digital economy, featuring a keynote from European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders. In his keynote, he pointed to the joint commitment he and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo made a day prior to accelerate efforts to develop a new Privacy Shield. He underscored that there is still more that binds the EU and the US together than divides us; and he called for common approaches to solve the challenges of our time. His full speech is also available on the European Commission website. Meanwhile, you can find all the details on the speakers and discussions in our day three summary article.

With thanks to our media partner, Euronews, and our sponsors, Google, Lilly, 3M, Goodyear, Interdigital, Procter & Gamble, Workday and IBM.