Dr. Ian Lesser, executive director of GMF Brussels, launched Transatlantic Trends 2012, on Thursday September 13th, noting that “this year`s survey showed a convergence of public opinions on both sides of Atlantic.”
The Transatlantic Trends 2012 survey serves as a preeminent source of American and European public opinion views on transatlantic relationship, emerging global challenges, economic crisis, perceptions of the U.S. presidential candidates, as well as major security issues.
After presenting key findings from the 11th annual Transatlantic Trends, Dr. Lesser said that Russia was included for the first time, which added a new perspective and geographical diversity to the findings.
“The survey revealed a significant shift in American public opinion when - compared to last year`s results - Americans considered the transatlantic relationship more important than that with Asia,” said Dr. Lesser.
After Dr. Lesser’s comments, David O`Sullivan, chief operating officer of the European External Action Service, said that this shift does not necessarily need to result in a long-term trend.
“Asia is very important and is going to be of a growing importance for both Europe and America,” said David O`Sullivan.
“It is not a zero-sum game, America needs to be able to juggle multiple relations.”
Peter Spiegel, Brussels bureau chief of the Financial Times, pointed to the striking symmetry between the United States and Europe, which strengthens the transatlantic relationship.
“The importance of the EU-U.S. relationship needs to be reinvented based on shared values and common interests but should not create the feeling that this happens in opposition to the rest of the world,” said Mr. O`Sullivan.
Dr. Lesser also noted that the gap in public opinion about the use of force remains persistent on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Interestingly enough the survey showed growing convergence between Europe and Turkey on this issue,” said Dr. Lesser.
After analysis from the panel, the floor was opened to questions from the audience, who showed a particular interest in the contradictory survey results about general transatlantic support for humanitarian intervention but reluctance to intervene in Syria.