Monday

22nd Jan 2018

Denmark proposes transatlantic marketplace ahead of EU-US summit

  • An unusually warm relationship, US media reports (Photo: EUobserver)

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish liberal prime minister, has unveiled an ambitious proposal for the world's two biggest economies to form a free trade zone.

During a visit to the US, where he addressed the Berkeley, University of California, Mr Fogh Rasmussen suggested the creation of a "transatlantic marketplace without barriers to trade and investment."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Let us not forget that the EU and the United States are responsible for two fifths of world trade. We are each other's largest trading and investment partners," Mr Fogh Rasmussen said in the speech focussed on globalisation.

As much as 85 per cent of US global investments in professional, scientific and technical services are placed in the EU, he noted.

"Globalization is a fact and we have to embrace it by going on the offensive both nationally and through international cooperation."

"Achieving the vision of a transatlantic marketplace will of course take time. Within Europe we have spent the last 50 years building an internal market," Mr Rasmussen added.

He also stressed that it would not be an "exclusive club" for rich countries.

At home the political opposition was quick to criticise the proposal, saying it risks turning global trade talks into bilateral co-operation.

"If one begins separate negotiations and arrangements with the US, it can be a threat to global negotiations", said Svend Auken, European political spokesman for the Danish Social Democrat party, according to Danish news agency Ritzau.

Trade is one of the issues on the agenda of the EU-US summit next week in Vienna.

Biking diplomacy

While facing decreasing political support in domestic opinion polls, Mr Rasmussen has secured a unique position in the White House.

He was invited to join George W. Bush in Camp David this week - an honour last accorded to a foreign chief two years ago – where the two leaders had a 10-mile bike ride through the Catoctin Mountain woods.

Under the headline "Diplomacy on Two Wheels" the Washington Post reported on the "unusually warm relationship that has developed between the leader of the free world and the head of a Scandinavian country of little more than 5 million people."

In February Denmark made headlines around the world, when Muslims took to the streets in giant demonstrations and burned the Danish flag – along with American and Israeli flags - in protests over the publication of 12 drawings of the Muslim prophet Mohammed in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Denmark has deployed troops in Afghanistan and Iraq despite popular opposition which has sparked a group of citizens to go to court claiming that deploying troops in Iraq is against the constitution.

In the footsteps of Aznar

But Mr Rasmussen is not the first European political leader and ally to propose closer transatlantic trade relations.

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar suggested back in 2004 that trade barriers across the Atlantic should be eliminated from 2015.

Canada, the US and Mexico have already formed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the world's largest free trade area operating since 1994.

But an even more ambitious plan to set up a free trade zone including 34 countries in North- and South-America, the so-called "Free Trade Area of the Americas" has not come to fruition.

Instead, the US recently approached Brazil with bilateral offers of improved co-operation, while the leftist leaders of Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia have signed a trade agreement to counter the US-led drive to forge a Pan-American free trade area.

EU seeks to extend Morocco fish deal, despite legal opinion

An EU court advisor says an EU fish deal with Rabat should be scrapped due to the Morocco-annexed territory of the Western Sahara. The fisheries agreement is set to expire in July but the European Commission want to renew it.

News in Brief

  1. Austria plans to sue Commission over Hungary's nuclear plant
  2. Puigdemont proposed as sole candidate for Catalan leadership
  3. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  4. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time
  5. CSU politicians set to oppose concessions to SPD
  6. Greek mass protests against use of 'Macedonia' in name dispute
  7. Oxfam report reveals inequality as Davos elite gather
  8. Macron: France would probably have voted to quit EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  2. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  3. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on agenda This WEEK
  4. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  5. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  6. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  7. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  8. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap