Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

The political economy of transatlantic relations

The European Union and the United States are deeply connected through a centuries-long common history, through shared values and interests, robust economic ties, and countless shared personal experiences. While the relationship certainly always had its ups and downs, the four years under U.S. President Donald Trump were particularly rocky, however. With an eye on Germany’s large trade surplus, Trump accused the country of unfair trade practices. New trade conflicts emerged – such as on new U.S. national security tariffs on steel and aluminum – and old ones escalated – such as the Airbus-Boeing dispute.

Hopes were thus high that the election of Joe Biden would mark a turning point in the relationship. At the same time, some skepticism remained. According to a survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) from January 2021, a majority of Europeans were happy about the election victory, but 32 percent said that the Americans could no longer be trusted after the four years of President Trump. Almost eleven months after Joe Bide took office, we have a better understanding. Both sides have shown good faith and – at least temporarily – eased some conflicts. But others remain.

We start our class with learning about the decision-making structures and institutions on both sides, taking a closer look at EU and U.S. trade policy-making before moving to the history of transatlantic trade relations. The second block of this class will be devoted to current issues in transatlantic economic relations. We will analyse the newly founded Trade and Technology Councils as well as old and new trade conflicts. We will then discuss the EU-U.S.-China triangle before learning about investment screening and export control in the EU and the United States. Last but not least, we will look at the transatlantic relationship and the WTO.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.