Launched in June 1996, the now-defunct New Atlantic Initiative was a neoconservative-led project based at the American Enterprise Institute that aimed to strengthen trans-Atlantic cooperation, in part by admitting the transitional democracies of the former Soviet bloc into NATO and the European Union, and establishing a free trade area between an enlarged European Union and North American countries. It was launched following the 1996 Congress of Prague, where more than 300 largely conservative politicians, scholars, and investors discussed "the new agenda for transatlantic relations."
The project's six patron luminaries were: Václav Havel, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Schmidt, Leszek Balcerowicz, Henry Kissinger, and George Schultz. Its executive director was Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician and former AEI fellow. The international advisory board, chaired by Kissinger, included a number of prominent neoconservative figures as well as European officials. Bruce Jackson of the Project on Transitional Democracies and the now-defunct U.S. Committee on NATO, was a founding member. The patrons shared a concern that "Europe's desire for self-reliance mixes dangerously with the motives of those who wish the new Europe to emerge as a counterweight and strategic rival to the United States."
The New Atlantic Initiative hosted international forums on transatlantic relations and published the work of its own staff and advisers as well as that of other rightists and hawks. For example, a Wall Street Journal article by Vladimir Socor of the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies called for NATO air policing of the Baltic states entering NATO and the drawing up of contingency plans for their defense in the advent of Russian aggression.
The initiative had several neoconservative groups besides AEI as "cooperating institutions," including Freedom House, the Hudson Institute, the Project for the New American Century, and the U.S. Committee on NATO. Other cooperating institutions came from across the United States, Europe, and the Near East, including: Ari Movement (Istanbul), Atlantic Club of Bulgaria (Sofia), Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom (London), Bohemiae Foundation (Prague), Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Podgorica), Center for the New Europe (Brussels), Centre for European Reform (London), Civic Institute (Prague), German Marshall Fund of the United States (Washington), Institute for Public Affairs (Bratislava) Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Jerusalem), Karamanlis Institute (Athens), Paradigmes (Paris), and Slovak Atlantic Commission (Bratislava).