The world has changed since the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is an assault on democracy and should concern all American and European citizens. It’s critical that we work together and take a unified approach to fight against Putin’s aggression. The transatlantic partnership between the United States and the European Union is the basis of our fundamental economic, security and strategic relationship. Our strong foundation of partnership is based on our common history and values, including the principles of democracy, rule of law, human rights and free, open societies and markets.
My grandparents emigrated to the San Joaquin Valley of California from the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago, looking for a better life for themselves. They took up dairy farming and built a strong and resilient farm from nothing. Like many European Americans, they instilled in me a love for the home country, and a keen awareness of how closely linked our transatlantic community is.
In Congress, I co-chair the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue (TLD), which serves to enhance exchange between legislators from the United States and the European Union. Just as the thriving Portuguese community in the San Joaquin Valley serves as a transatlantic bridge between two likeminded peoples, this dialogue is the bridge between the European Parliament and the United States House of Representatives. This dialogue is committed to providing a platform for members to protect democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I am proud to serve alongside my counterpart, European co-chairman Radosław Sikorski (PL, EPP). Together we’re focused on addressing jointly the many significant challenges facing our democracies in the 21st century.
Like many European Americans, they instilled in me a love for the home country, and a keen awareness of how closely linked our transatlantic community is.
We meet twice per year, once in the US and once in Europe. Our most recent meeting was the 84th TLD dialogue in Paris, where we discussed transatlantic support for Ukraine, relations with Russia and China, trade and technology, energy security and climate. Our discussions have deepened our conviction to further enhance our legislative dialogue and strengthen the transatlantic relationship.
In 1950, Jean Monnet had a vision for European integration that led to the Schuman Declaration and subsequently the formation of the EU. As the TLD delegation walked around Monnet’s home outside Paris during last month’s meeting, the imperative of transatlantic cooperation that Monnet recognised remains clear and more important than ever before.
Since the Second World War, the EU and the US have served as beacons of light for democracy worldwide, and it’s critical that we work together to defend those democracies from autocrats and dictators like Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping. It’s our moral obligation to continue providing shelter and support to the displaced people of Ukraine. Our governments are working together through the TLD to advocate for economic, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine so that its people and democratically elected government can continue to defend its territory and its future.
This is the test of our time. The TLD will continue to facilitate direct communication between American and European lawmakers and serve as a tool to defend and protect democracies for future generations to come. As they say in Portuguese, “Que continuar para muito tempo” – long may it continue.