Towards an Atlantic Area? Mapping Trends, Perspectives and Interregional Dynamics between Europe, Africa and the Americas (ATLANTIC FUTURE)
The aim of the ATLANTIC FUTURE FP7 research project is to study the rationales of cooperation in the Atlantic area and identify EU strategies for engaging in a wider transatlantic relationship within the Atlantic space.
As globalisation enters a new phase characterised by the rise of developing economies, and as global challenges such as the economic crisis, food security, climate change, and energy scarcity become more urgent, the states and regions around the Atlantic look at their counterparts across the ocean with renewed interest. The Atlantic remains a central space of exchange, where the North America – Europe link continues to be the strongest and largest of the transcontinental relations. The latter's decline in relative terms is slowly matched by raising Africa and Latin America, and a newly energised Arab region, all of which are increasing their interregional links and gaining weight in global affairs. Both positive factors, such as the opportunities for better management of shared resources, and negative ones, like the illegal flow of narcotics that harms the whole region, can be drivers for cooperation.
ATLANTIC FUTURE's primary objective is to analyze fundamental trends in the Atlantic Basin and show how changing environmental, energy, economic, security, human, and institutional links are transforming the wider Atlantic space. Research will map the interconnections between those issue areas across the Atlantic and track the transformation of region-to-region relationships between Africa, the Americas, and Europe from a variety of perspectives and from all of the Atlantic regions and powers.
Research questions include:
- Is there a new, pan-Atlantic system of relations really emerging in the Atlantic area beyond the traditional North Atlantic alliance and North-South dependency?
- How is the "Atlantic area" to be conceptualised and characterised?
- What are the drivers for, and obstacles to, cooperation, competition and conflict?
- What regional and inter-regional constellations are developing in the Atlantic Basin?
- What are the key factors and actors affecting the shape and structure of the Atlantic space and what are their interactions? What scenarios will their combination deliver?
- What are the implications of the new dynamics for the EU and how can the EU rethink its relations with emerging powers in the wider Atlantic space?
The project is a multidisciplinary effort and includes innovative features:
- an online interactive Atlas of the Atlantic to visualise and map change in the Atlantic,
- the conduct of interviews across the Atlantic to collect perspectives of stakeholders of all Atlantic regions and the foreign policy agenda of the main actors,
- an interactive online community bringing together stakeholders from around the Atlantic.