Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Strengthening the Transatlantic Relationship

| Mar. 01, 2021

The Harvard Kennedy School created the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship to deepen scholarship and teaching on modern Europe and to facilitate the flow of people and ideas across the Atlantic. This project permits our faculty, students and fellows to focus in seminars, public events and research projects on member states of NATO and the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, Russia, Ukraine, and states in Eurasia.

We have deepened our academic commitment to understanding Europe through the Pierre Keller Visiting Professorship, which brings a preeminent European academic or policy practitioner to teach issues of contemporary public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Similarly, with an expanded fellowship and seminar program, and a conference series in partnership with leading think tanks in Europe, we ensure that the next generation of transatlantic leaders are able to advance solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

When we launched the Project in 2018, the 75-year old alliance was in crisis. Although Europe remained our largest trading partner and the largest investor in the American economy, there was a profound lack of trust and cohesion between the U.S. and its European partners. In response to divisions and challenges facing the NATO Alliance, we published our first major report in February 2019: “NATO at Seventy: An Alliance in Crisis” which I co-authored with Senior Fellow, Ambassador Doug Lute. The report outlined ten challenges and recommendations to strengthen the world’s oldest and most successful military alliance for the decades ahead. We argued that the absence of strong, principled American presidential leadership was NATO’s single greatest challenge.

The United States, Europe and Canada must work together toward one ambition —to renew, revitalize and retool for the decade ahead the most powerful democratic community in modern history. To that end, Harvard Kennedy School joined with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) to develop new ideas and strategies for reimagining the transatlantic relationship in 2021 and beyond. Dr. Daniela Schwarzer, Director of DGAP and I co-chaired a transatlantic strategy group comprised of experts and former government officials from the U.S. and Europe. Dr. Torrey Taussig, Research Director for the Project on Europe, led our research efforts.

The result was a December 2020 report, “Stronger Together: A Strategy to Revitalize Transatlantic Power” that included eight individual action plans with policy recommendations on how to address critical challenges, such as a more assertive China and Russia, climate change, A.I. and emerging technologies, and a global trading system in flux, among other issues.

The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship is committed to advancing strong ties across the Atlantic, the resurgence of democracy and human freedom, and enhancing our understanding of modern Europe at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Burns, Nicholas.“Strengthening the Transatlantic Relationship.” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, March 1, 2021.