GMF's Leadership Perspectives: State of Transatlantic Relations with Karen Donfried

Karen Donfried
Kevin Cottrell
3 min read
Photo Credit: Lightspring / Shutterstock
As we enter into the third decade of the 21st Century, the world is awash with change that is making the future more uncertain than ever.

As we enter into the third decade of the 21st Century, the world is awash with change that is making the future more uncertain than ever. Multiple actors are pursuing competing priorities, narratives are being spawned that are taking aim at experts, and illiberal tendencies are seeping into some of the world’s most powerful democracies. In this year’s State of Transatlantic Relations, GMF President Karen Donfried looks at the evolving nature of current events on the global stage and the implications these developments have on transatlantic relations.

Read below for a few of the call’s key takeaways:

  • The United States and EU continue to face dissonance on key issues.

  • “Nationalization” of the approach to the coronavirus outbreak has seen states act unilaterally in lieu of working together. This poses concern for how effectively the world can tackle the pandemic and the wider ramifications for multilateral organizations and the transatlantic relationship.

  • The United Kingdom declared its formal exit from the European Union this year, and questions have arisen regarding what type of exit will take shape and the wider economic implications this would have on Europe and the United Kingdom by the year’s end.

  • The United Kingdom’s departure also has significant effects on the United States and its ability to influence the EU’s future direction.

  • The rise of multiple threats to democracy are taking shape in growing extremism, invasive technology, and a hostility to experts.

  • Subnational leaders are continuing to find common perspectives to unite to action across borders in lieu of growing isolationism and protectionism influencing state behavior.

  • With challenges ahead to the United States arising from geopolitical shifts and an increasingly assertive China, GMF will craft policy for the incoming U.S. administration, be it Republican or Democrat.

  • Moving ahead, challenges will become increasingly global in scope, and this emphasizes the need for a strong transatlantic relationship to shape future trajectories through collaboration.

  • On a second and a third order issues, the transatlantic relationship is showing continued resilience and purpose in the new century.

The annual State of Transatlantic Relations call with the German Marshall Fund’s President Karen Donfried is exclusive to GMF’s Alumni Leadership Council members. It provides an executive summary of contemporary transatlantic priorities and focuses on trends that are shaping the future of transatlantic relations. Members of the Council have the unique opportunity to ask questions, and the presentation covers a broad range of issues that impact leadership decisions across sectors.

Access to GMF’s Alumni Leadership Council is exclusive to alumni of GMF’s transatlantic leadership development programs, including Marshall Memorial Fellowship, Manfred Wörner Seminar, Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network, the Transatlantic Forum for Migration and Integration, the Leadership Lab, the Policy Designers Network, the Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellowship, APSA Congressional Fellowship, and New Länder Fellowship.