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US and EU Collaborate to Help Ukraine, Reassure Supply Chains

May 16, 2022 by Madeline Hughes
Emergency Situations Department employees talk to wheelchair-bound Katia, 90 years old, a refugee fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru, File)

PARIS — A newly formed European-American alliance is helping fight the war in Ukraine.

The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council first met last fall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and had its second meeting Monday in Paris. Much of the attention was on using the council’s focus on technology to disrupt Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“We plan to continue coordinating our actions to mitigate the negative impacts of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine on the global economy, and on Ukraine’s economy in particular. We remain resolute in our efforts to work jointly with Ukraine to rebuild its economy and revive its entrepreneurial vigor, facilitate trade and investment, and address global challenges resulting from Russia’s actions,” the joint statement from the U.S. and EU said.

Working together as democracies was a theme throughout the statement. The council reinforced that the best way to help its countries address today’s issues with commerce, technology and the environment was through working together to overcome authoritarianism.

“Together with our transatlantic partners, we can create a positive vision for our economies and for a democratic governance of the internet based on the dignity and integrity of the individual. When we act together, we can set the standards of tomorrow’s economy,” Margrethe Vestager, a European co-chair of the council and the European Commission executive vice president, said in a statement. “We are joining forces, and when two such determined partners take the lead, we can enable the tides to turn.”

During the meeting, members highlighted their cooperation in sanctions on Russia and Belarus and that the members were able to act swiftly and effectively because of the relationship already forged from the first meeting. The council in its joint statement reaffirmed its work to have countries consult each other on restrictions and sanctions levied. 

“We will build on our unprecedented transatlantic coordination on export controls against Russia to further align our approaches in this critical field, while also boosting trade with Ukraine,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president and commissioner for Trade and co-chair of the council, in a statement.

One of the council’s top goals is to disrupt misinformation and maintain the internet as a place that fosters free speech, according to the joint statement. Part of that is in motion with the “Declaration of the Future of the Internet,” which was signed by the U.S., EU members and dozens of other countries earlier this year.

The council is further creating a data privacy framework that will create guidelines for digital media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In Monday’s statement, the council laid out that each country would work toward its own laws, ensuring companies publish transparent and clear terms of service, and provide a complaint system for users to flag content, especially content that is illegal or promotes illegal activity. Also, those companies would have to report on their moderating systems through “meaningful metrics,” according to the statement.

The council also wants to work on understanding algorithmic amplifications and study these social media platforms more.

The council is also seeking to help small and medium businesses with digital tools, including a cybersecurity guidebook, and reinforcing critical supply chains globally for items including semiconductors.

The council has its sights set on making changes globally, including at the World Trade Organization, to help make a lasting difference, according to the statement.

The council also discussed weakening trade restrictions, particularly on food, to help curb disruptions in those supply chains.

Overall the talks were fruitful and the parties agreed in their respective statements.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which participated in the meeting as a stakeholder, agreed. “We appreciated today’s session because ongoing two-way engagement is key to realistic and durable outcomes. Even where parties are not always aligned, outreach should be transparent and inclusive of different interests,” the organization said in a statement.

Madeline can be reached at maddie@thewellnews.com and @MadelineHughes

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