The Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue aims at enhancing the dialogue between European and American federal Legislators, the European Parliament and the American Congress. The TLD is founded on the principle that EU-US relations go far beyond foreign policy or trade issues, and also involve other fields of legislation. Whether economic and financial policies, energy and climate change or issues of civil liberties, much legislation has an effect across the Atlantic, either intentional or unintentional. For this reason, the parliamentary relationship was deepened one step further in 1999, with the creation of the TLD.
Taking the existing interparliamentary relationship, which goes back as far as 1972, as its basis, the TLD aims to strengthen and enhance the level of political discourse between European and American legislators. It does this against the background of numerous other contacts that have resulted in a significantly closer EU-US relationship at a variety of levels. These include the annual EU-US Summit meetings established by the Transatlantic Declaration of 1990, the Transatlantic Dialogues (Business, Consumers, Environment, and Labour) and other initiatives. The TLD constitutes the formal response of the European Parliament and the US Congress to the commitment in the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) of 1995, to enhanced parliamentary ties between the European Union and the United States.
In practical terms, the TLD includes the bi-annual meetings of the European Parliament and the US Congress delegations and teleconferences, organised on specific topics of mutual concern, with a view to fostering an ongoing and uninterrupted dialogue. In a broader sense, the TLD also involves the work of parliamentary committees and their direct contacts across the Atlantic. As legislation is mostly prepared at committee level, it is important that the dialogue starts here. The European Parliament has established a Steering Committee to co-ordinate TLD activities, in which these parliamentary committees are represented.