The big line-up in: This Tuesday, US President Joe Biden will meet with top representatives of the European Union on his trip to Europe. At the meeting in Brussels, in addition to Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, three vice-presidents of the Commission will be present – Margrethe Vestager, in charge of digital affairs, trade expert Valdis Dombrovskis and foreign policy expert Josep Borrell. Von der Leyen’s broad promotion reflects the broad scope of the topic that this EU-US summit is supposed to address.
It will be about trade and digital politics, about climate protection and the fight against epidemics, about the containment of Russia and China. Above all, however, this meeting aims to start a new beginning in the relations between the European Union and the United States of America. The relationship suffered badly under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump: a fan of Brexit, Trump, claimed that the European Union was taking advantage of the United States and was “hostile” to it; Protectionist imposed punitive tariffs on Europe. On the other hand, he did not attach much importance to discussing things and tackling problems together.
An EU diplomat said Monday that since Biden took office, relations have improved “fairly quickly” and there has been a lot of exchange. The new conciliatory tone does not change the fact that points of contention remain – for example in trade policy. Even the summit will not be able to solve this. Hopes of a breakthrough were dashed during the joint preparation of the Final Declaration. The Americans responded to the ambitious EU draft with a proposal that remained vague on sticking points such as punitive tariffs or reform of the World Trade Organization.
The combined draft, available for SZ, is now much shorter than seven pages than the 25-page Final Announcement From the G-7 summit in Cornwall over the weekend. But unsurprisingly, the themes overlap tightly.
Uyghurs, Tibet and Hong Kong: Much criticism of Beijing
One of the most tangible announcements in the draft EU-US summit is that both sides want to coordinate their policy toward Russia in a “high-level dialogue” – a coordination similar that already exists to that of China. Moscow demands the release of political prisoners and an end to the repression of the opposition and independent media. The fact that Russia continues to undermine the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia is condemnable.
In the joint declaration, China was described as a cooperating partner, competitor and competitor to the system – just as the European Union presented it as a two-year guideline. Washington and Brussels stress the importance of peaceful resolution of the conflicts between China and Taiwan. Human rights abuses against Uyghurs and Tibetans and the dismantling of democratic rights in Hong Kong have been criticized, as have Chinese disinformation campaigns.
Annoyance with China is one of the reasons for the second concrete announcement planned for the summit: the European Union and the United States want to create a trade and technology council. The committee had that six months ago I suggested. Brussels and Washington want to share information about standards for future technologies such as artificial intelligence and avoid new obstacles to cross-border business in these industries. China is not mentioned in these sections of the draft, but it is clear that by working together, Brussels and Washington want to prevent China from setting global technology standards.
Biden fears union anger
There is a role model for this Council – and this suggests a bit of good news: At the 2007 EU-US Summit, Transatlantic Economic Council It was founded, and so far it has not achieved any great success. One of the sensitive issues that the new council can address is the rules for data transfer. The European Court of Justice has nullified the agreement allowing companies to make such transfers to the United States. The US government wants to conclude a subsequent contract quickly, and the Commission would like to see better protection of the data of EU citizens from US secret services. In the draft text of the summit, the two sides only promised that they would continue to work towards restoring legal certainty.
Data on commercial disputes is similarly vague. Biden’s predecessor, Trump, imposed special tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in 2018, allegedly to protect national security. The European Union has responded with retaliatory tariffs on many US products, such as jeans, whiskey, motorcycles and peanut butter. There will be no obligation to raise these tariffs. Biden appears to be walking away from this because these protective definitions are popular with labor unions.
Chances are better in the row over Boeing and Airbus subsidies. The European Union and the United States have been arguing over aid for plane manufacturers since 2004 — and imposed billions in punitive tariffs in 2019 and 2020, with WTO approval. Approved in March However, von der Leyen and Biden suspended the punitive tariffs due to aircraft support until July 11. During this time, Brussels and Washington want to agree on rules on acceptable support. The draft declaration of the summit states that the two sides commit themselves to “finding balanced and effective solutions” by this date. That leaves less than four weeks to end 17 years of conflict.