New Systemic Risks: Challenges and Opportunities for Transatlantic Cooperation

Building a Smarter German-American Partnership


Economic and financial market risks, the consequences of climate change, terrorism, organized crime, supply security of energy and raw materials, the increase of cybercrime, and the vulnerability of critical infrastructure—governments, businesses, and societies face numerous systemic risks. Purely national approaches to cope with these transnational challenges are doomed to fail. In fact, there is a need for international cooperation. The United States and the EU are key players in this context—without the two economic and political heavyweights, systemic risks cannot be handled adequately. Despite the high degree of integration of their economies, sound political relations, and similar vulnerabilities to systemic risks, cooperation between the two partners is often difficult. What are the reasons for the lack of cooperation? Are there different risk cultures on both sides of the Atlantic hindering closer cooperation? Or do material interests explain diverging risk perceptions and/or policy answers to systemic risks?

The project “New Systemic Risks: Challenges and Opportunities for Transatlantic Cooperation” aims at answering these questions in order to identify the need and potential for cooperation as well as points of conflicts between the transatlantic partners.


The project analyzes governance of systemic risks in the United States and the EU in three relevant policy fields. Differences and similarities of the transatlantic partners in the four pillars of risk governance—assessment and evaluation of risks, risk management, and risk communication—within the policy fields of economic and financial policy, raw materials policy, and security politics will be identified with the help of case studies (single case studies and comparative analyses).

Project partners and research activities

The research project is carried out by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)), and the American-German Institute (AGI) at Johns Hopkins University, USA. The project brings together scholars as well as practitioners in Europe and the United States. It contributes to the exchange between these experts from both sides of the Atlantic and aims at elaborating scientific knowledge and policy recommendations that serve a better transatlantic cooperation in the governance of risks.

The research is accompanied by three workshops with international scholars and practitioners. Results are published and discussed at two conferences in Berlin and Washington.

Results of the Transatlantic Risk Governance Survey


Transatlantic Risk Governance: New Security Risks, December 6, 2012

Climate and Energy Risks: A Transatlantic Comparison, April 8, 2013


Issue Brief 43: Risk Governance and Transatlantic Cooperation in Space, by Max M. Mutschler

Issue Brief 44: Who’s Afraid of GMOs? Understanding the Differences in the Regulation of GMOs in the United States and European Union, by Linnea Kreibohm

Policy Report 56: From the West to the Rest. Changing Patterns on Global Metals and Mineral Markets: A Need for a Global Dialogue on Raw Materials in a Changing World, by Roderick Kefferpütz and Stormy-Annika Mildner