EU Eyes Better Ties With US Under Biden Presidency
The European Union (EU) was planning to renew its dented ties with the United States once incumbent president Donald Trump steps down from office early next year.
According to an exclusive report by Reuters, members of the EU were debating how best to “renew and reinvigorate” transatlantic relations after Trump’s departure on January 20.
It can be learned that the EU had four years of strained ties with the US amid Trump’s protectionism stance called the “America First.”
According to Reuters, many European leaders were hoping that a Biden presidency would present better opportunities for the EU, with priorities on combating climate change, nuclear proliferation, and human rights.
“The arrival of a new administration and congress … [was] an opportunity for the EU to renew and reinvigorate its strategic partnership with the US-based on mutual interests,” the 27-member EU was quoted as saying in a document prepared for envoys.
“The EU should agree on a set of concrete priorities on which to engage the new US leadership,” it added.
Ambassadors from the 27 countries considered five key areas where they see greater opportunities once Joe Biden assumes office.
An EU official was quoted as saying that there were divisions among members, with France seeking more autonomy from the US while eastern Europe was keen on keeping the world’s largest economy close.
On the other hand, the focus areas agreed upon covered health—including the fight versus the coronavirus disease 2019, as well as boosting economic recovery, combating climate change, promoting security and peace, and upholding shared values including a belief in multilateral rules.
On the digital side, the European Commission and the EU’s foreign service, the European External Action Service, have prepared another document that covered common fronts including digital regulation, and considering how to handle a more internationally assertive China.
One diplomat, however, cautioned that the EU should not expect that all issues will be resolved under the Biden presidency.
“There will be a change of tone from Biden, but the tough US stance on China, the insistence that Europeans spend more on defense—they will remain,” the diplomat was quoted as saying.
European Council President Charles Michel, who currently chairs EU summits, has invited Biden to an in-person gathering to be held in the first semester of 2021.
For her part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the commission was expecting the US to rejoin the Paris agreement which Biden promised he will do.
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