Briefing Paper

Briefing Paper 207 (2016)   

The Future of US-Europe Relations:
Institutional constraints and public opinion may render changes smaller than expected


Published 30.11.2016

Charly Salonius-Pasternak
Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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The transatlantic relationship continues to evolve. However, even as US administrations change, the security and economic dimensions of the transatlantic relationship are not very susceptible to radical policy shifts, thanks to history, institutions and mutual interests.

Individual US presidents are, in theory, able to make sweeping changes to US participation and activity levels within NATO, for example, but in practice there are a number of constraints, which have led to the historical fact that US presidents have supported appropriate US security engagement in Europe and NATO.

While the US presidential election created the illusion that the next US president would seek to withdraw from agreements aimed at furthering trade liberalization, and that this would be supported by the population, actual opinion polls show strong support for continued US efforts to negotiate trade deals and actively engage in global trade.

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