Diplomatic relations between the EU and the U.S. date back to 1953. The relationship between the EU and the U.S. is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The EU and U.S. are the biggest economic and military powers in the world, dominate global trade, play the leading roles in international political relations, and whatever one says matters a great deal, not only to the other, but to much of the rest of the world.
Transatlantic Legislator's Dialogue
Relations between the U.S. House of Representatives and the European Parliament can be traced back to 1972, when a group of Members of the House, led by Representative Sam Gibbons of the House Ways and Means Committee, traveled to Brussels for the express purpose of meeting and exchanging views with the Parliament. The first congressional visits to Brussels were arranged by Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means who were interested in issues such as agriculture subsidies, steel, tariffs, anti-dumping initiatives, and general trade-related areas. These initial parliamentary contacts, which only involved the House of Representatives, became known as the United States European Community Interparliamentary Group. Soon after these early exchanges were initiated, Members of the House and MEPs began meeting twice a year, once in the United States and once in Europe. On January 15, 1999, during the 50th inter-parliamentary meeting in Strasbourg, the European Parliament and the U.S. House of Representatives formalized their institutional cooperation into a framework called the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD). This inter-parliamentary relationship is, indeed, the longest and most intensive one in the history of the European Parliament.
TLD meetings are divided into working sessions on topics of common interest, such as foreign affairs, economic relations, trade, cyber security and energy. After each meeting, the TLD adopts a joint statement setting out the positions agreed upon by both delegations.
More broadly, the TLD also entails contacts between complementary committees in the US House of Representatives and the European Parliament. As such, TLD activities have expanded to include video conferences, special working groups on subjects of mutual interest, as well as playing a facilitating role for direct committee-to-committee exchanges between legislative committees of the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress.
Additionally, the European Parliament has established the TLD Steering Committee, which includes the chairs of all committees with transatlantic dimensions.
The European Union Caucus
Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), helped re-launch the bipartisan Congressional EU Caucus for the 115th Congress.
The 115th Congress Reps. Wilson and Meeks will serve as co-chairs and to this date, they count twenty-six other United States Representatives as members of the caucus. Regarding the introduction of the EU caucus, the co-chairs Wilson and Meeks released the following joint statement:
“The European Union plays a significant role in safeguarding and promoting our shared values of freedom and democracy across Europe and around the world. Our shared aspiration for enduring European peace and prosperity is undoubtedly in the interests of the United States and our European friends, creating jobs."
“We thank the other Members for joining us on this bipartisan caucus and we look forward to working with them to strengthen our partnerships with our allies in the EU, to make the world a safer place, promoting peace through strength.”