In a July 11th speech in Croatia, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland set out U.S. priorities for the transatlantic community.
The Assistant Secretary touched on the enduring symbol of the transatlantic bond, NATO: "Now more than ever. . .NATO allies must remain vigilant in the steps that we are taking to demonstrate on land, sea, and air, that NATO territory is inviolable, that we will defend every piece of it."
Moreover, all NATO nations, across the transatlantic community, must mark the hard choices needed to improve defense investment: "We must also work together to reverse the downward slide in defense budgets."
Beyond hard security imperatives, three other essential elements of shared security and prosperity for the transatlantic community are bolstering energy security, advancing shared prosperity, and countering corruption. Now more than ever, Europe needs to secure a diverse supply of gas, building up reverse flow capabilities and storage capacity and creating deeper networks of import terminals and interconnectors throughout the continent.
To ensure long-term prosperity in the region, it is also critical to complete the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will boost economic and job growth.
Another core goal of the transatlantic community must remain to fight against corruption and democratic backsliding. Europe can’t be whole when kleptocrats treat states as a bonanza of spoils for themselves and their cronies, said Assistant Secretary Nuland.
Corruption also threatens national sovereignty because every dirty politician or non-transparent contract creates another wormhole of vulnerability and an opportunity for mischief by outside forces. From the Balkans to the Baltic to the Black Sea, it is clear that corruption is not just a democracy killer, it’s another tool in the arsenal of autocrats and kleptocrats who seek to extend their influence, weaken democracies and enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens.
"Together, as a transatlantic community," said Assistant Secretary Nuland, "we must continue to set the global gold standard in protecting and advancing freedom, choice and human dignity of our own people and of people everywhere who share our values and aspirations. We know our work is not done, and we know we have to do it together."