There may be a major shift in transatlantic relationships going on according to the Trans-Atlantic Trends 2011 survey released by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the private Italian foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo.

The survey released on September 14 showed 51% of Americans polled consider the countries of Asia more important to US national interests than the countries of the European Union. At the same time 52% of those polled in the EU chose the US over Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea as most important to their interests.

According to the survey younger Americans are more likely to see China as an economic opportunity for new markets and investments rather than as an economic threat while a majority of older Americans see China as threatening jobs and economic security

The rise of Asia divides Europeans too - but by nationality rather than by age. Over half of those polled in Italy, Romania, Germany, Britain and Poland name the US as more important than Asia.  The majority of Germans, Dutch, Romanians, Swedes and British see China as an economic opportunity. On the other hand, majorities in France and Portugal still see China as an economic threat, though their numbers are decreasing.

Zsolt Nyiri who directed the survey for the German Marshall Fund believes Europe needs to do more to capture the imagination of a new generation of Americans to restore transatlantic relations to their former state. “Although Barack Obama rehabilitated the image of the United States in Europe, Europe has so far failed to reinvigorate its image in the United States, particularly among younger Americans who do not necessarily have strong links to European ancestry or positive memories of Cold War-era alliances.”