Transworld was publicly launched on April 20th during a conference in Rome.
In a world in flux, characterized by the emergence of new powers and the overall fragmentation of the international system, the traditional leadership role of the European Union and the United States in global governance is being increasingly disputed. The future of the transatlantic relationship cannot, therefore, fail to re-invent itself by seeking new forms of engagement with emerging (or emerged) powers, notably the so-called BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – , which claim more and more new (and independent) global responsibilities.
Transworld will seek to provide, in its three and half year life-span, the theoretical and empirical fundamentals of a new paradigm to interpret the transatlantic relationship. The question, therefore – as the two project coordinators, Nathalie Tocci, IAI Deputy director, and Riccardo Alcaro, IAI Senior fellow, pointed out – is whether the traditional US-EU cooperation is going through a phase of gradual decline, or whether, instead, it is simply evolving into a new form of partnership.
The new challenge of global governance will play out on several fronts: from economics to security, democracy to national policy, which, according to Sergio Fabbrini, Director of the Luiss School of Government, is the true starting point for the interpretation of a new transatlantic relationship. Last but not least, human rights, in the opinion of the various speakers, represents the BRICS – are essential for dialogue between the various powers (emerging or not) in the evolving international system.
TRANSWORLD would pursue three sets of objectives: scientific, policy-relevant, and network-relevant.
As for the scientific objectives, TRANSWORLD would:
- examine structural changes producing new actors (both state and non-state), institutions, norms, modes of political discourse, and the ensuing governance challenges within four key policy domains:
- economy (including trade and financial)
- human rights and democracy
- trace the EU and US’s policies of adjustment and response to the changes in these policy areas by assessing:
- the goals, means, and action patterns of EU and US external policies since the end of the Cold War
- the views of US and EU political, economic, and social elites of current and prospective EU and US adjustment policies in the given policy fields
- the ability of the EU and the US to exert leadership in pursuit of their goals in the given policy fields
- compare the EU and US’s policies of adjustment to changes in the international scene by singling out convergence and divergence patterns between them
- test the following hypotheses, concentrating on their implications for the viability of a global governance architecture:
- the transatlantic partners are drifting apart, and transatlantic leadership in governance architecture-building is attainable only occasionally and its role for global/regional governance is limited
- the transatlantic relationship is evolving along a pattern of sectoral/selective cooperation, and transatlantic leadership is attainable only in specific policy fields and its implications for global/regional governance are ad hoc and subject to contingent factors. Transatlantic cooperation would be interest-based, and the patterns of cooperation and competition would follow a logic of common or conflicting interests
- the transatlantic relationship is transforming into a different but enduring partnership, whereby the transatlantic partners claim a leadership role in, and consequently have a strong impact on, governance architecture-building. The transatlantic relationship would still remain a community based on a collective identity and common institutions. However, it would adjust to the new realities of the 21st century.
As for the policy-relevant objectives, the project would:
- highlight the policy implications resulting from the above analysis and put forward recommendations for a transatlantic effort aimed at:
- upgrading bilateral consultation and cooperation mechanisms with the view to building an effective transatlantic relationship in an evolving context
- maximising EU-US synergies to contribute to a viable, effective, and accountable regional and global governance architecture
As for the network-relevant objectives, the project would:
- contribute to the development of a transatlantic research area by fostering links between academic and policy researchers and institutions;
- bring a European voice in policy debates that remain dominated by American scholarship while putting together a team of researchers with strong and longstanding transatlantic links;
- create an inter-disciplinary transatlantic research network, featuring political scientists, international relations scholars, political economists, and international lawyers, which addresses comprehensively and under a common research framework the transformations of transatlantic relations in multiple policy fields.