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Politics

Commissioner Avramopoulos to TNH: The US and EU shared past, shared future

March 10, 2017

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship writes exclusively for The National Herald:

“Today we find ourselves at a historical moment, ahead of deep global changes, where the prosperity and stability of important democracies are at stake, fuelled by the rise of xenophobia, populism and nationalism. And yet, the stability and prosperity of democracies is the result of international and transatlantic relations and cooperation – not isolationist actions.

In this historical pendulum, the two greatest political stakeholders are the United Stated and the European Union.

2017 has announced itself already with a major political transition in the US, the UK preparing to leave the European Union, and important elections in Europe on the horizon.

Right now, the global scene needs a stable EU and a stable US – and a stable and strong transatlantic partnership.

This is precisely why I was the first EU senior official to visit the new US administration, and lay the foundations to further strengthen and deepen the longstanding transatlantic friendship and alliance.

As we celebrate 60 years of peace and stability in Europe this month, we celebrate it thanks to our American brothers, who helped rebuild Europe from the ashes after the Second World War.

As Vice President Mike Pence said aptly at the Munich Security Conference: “the fates of the United States and Europe are intertwined”. Both the United States and Europe know that our struggles and challenges, our past and our future are and will continue to be shared.

Today, as the world becomes more connected, more globalised and more mobile, citizens on both sides of the Atlantic are all the more concerned about the safety and stability of their communities. Migration and terrorism continue to be the two top issues that American and European citizens worry about.

With more than 200 million people on the move around the globe, and more than 60 million forcibly displaced, migration is a global responsibility that should be shouldered globally.

At the same time, openness towards those in need should never come at the expense of our citizens’ security. European and American citizens want to know who crosses their borders, and both our continents are investing in better and smarter border management systems.

But with several terrorist attacks on both sides of the Atlantic and a growing threat of home-grown radicalisation, the battleground against terrorism is increasingly shifting online. We need to work jointly across borders and continents, but also across different arenas, including the internet.

In an ever-more changing world, we must safeguard and protect the fundamental freedoms that our democracies are built on.

The acquired stability and strength of our democracies should never be taken for granted. The shadows of the past that threatened our democracies back then are haunting us again today. Looking at the past, we are reminded what future is at stake. If we want to maintain our jointly hard-won prosperity and stability, we must unite our forces even more.

Now is the moment to further strengthen and deepen the long-standing EU-US partnership, to jointly fight terrorism, to better manage mobility and migration, in order to build a more stable and prosperous world for all.

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in California on 9-10 March to meet with the leadership of Google, Facebook and Twitter to further the cooperation between the EU and Internet companies in the fight against terrorism online.”

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