For the first time in twelve years, Joe Biden, the president of the US state, participated in the deliberations of the heads of state of the European Union. This heralds the resumption of the relationship.
US President Joe Biden participated in the deliberations of the heads of state and government of the European Union on Thursday. In the evening, a spokesman for the President of the European Union Council, Charles Michel, announced that Biden had been linked to the European Union summit via video link. This is the first time since 2009 that a US president has participated in the deliberations of the heads of state and government of the European Union. At that time, talks took place with US President Barack Obama as part of a summit between the European Union and the United States.
Council President Michel said on Twitter: “If the European Union and the United States stand side by side, they can show that democracies are best suited to protecting citizens, promoting dignity and achieving prosperity.” He had announced earlier that he had invited Biden to present “his view on our future cooperation.” It is time to “rebuild our transatlantic alliance”.
Relations between the United States and the European Union were tense under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Trade relations between the two sides had deteriorated greatly. Trump accused the European Union of unfair competition and imposed punitive fees.
Merkel: An important gesture
Angela Merkel saw the exchange with Biden as an important step towards the normalization of relations between Europe and the United States. Merkel said in Berlin: “It was the first meeting today, but a gesture was very, very important and means that we are talking closely again.”
Merkel said that there are many similarities between the European Union and the USA that they want to grow more of. She talked about the climate issue, stopping trade disputes and the relationship with China and Russia. It is hoped that it will be able to welcome Biden to the Council of the European Union and possibly to a NATO meeting in the summer.
In response to a question about whether strict joint action with the United States against China could affect German economic interests, the chancellor said: “It is not only about economic interests, but about living what we also call European sovereignty.” There is a shared set of values with the United States – and at the same time, each has its own interests. “But of course we also have to look at how to combine values and interests.”
Merkel said in this context that she would continue to work hard for a European policy towards China. There will be a lot in common with the United States of America, but without an identity. This is quite clear. “
Find allies in the fight against Beijing
In the first sign of relaxation, the European Union and the United States suspended punitive tariffs a few weeks after Biden took office at the start of March in a dispute over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. And unlike his predecessor, Biden is again clearly focused on international cooperation and returned to the Paris climate agreement, among other things. (Also read: Biden and Europe: Best Friends Again).
Biden is also looking for allies in Europe on a clear path toward rival China. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made clear on Wednesday that Washington does not want to force NATO allies to choose between the two sides. On Monday, the United States and the European Union already imposed sanctions against China at the same time due to actions against the Mulslim minority of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.