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Improved relationship between US and EU? ‘It will not be Biden’s fault’

It was his first speech addressed to Europe, online in Munich this afternoon, from the White House: Joe Biden wants to re-establish warm relations with the US’s traditional allies and convince them that he is eager to cooperate.

“I’m sending a clear message to the world: America is back. Article link

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The transatlantic alliance is back. We’re not looking back, we’re looking to the future. Article link

The partnership with Europe is a cornerstone,” said Biden.

As of today, the US is once again officially participating in the Paris Climate Agreement. Under Donald Trump, the Americans got out. Trump called the deal bad for American citizens and “not fair” to America. According to Trump, the Climate Agreement would also cost millions of jobs.

On the contrary, Biden called on his European allies to redouble efforts in the fight against climate change and warned of a “global existential crisis”.

What is Europe’s policy?

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The new US president wants a better relationship between the US and the EU than in recent years. And according to two leading experts in international politics, it will not be up to Biden.

“He knows Europe. He doesn’t need an apprenticeship and you don’t have to explain things to him. Article link

The problem is more with Europe, because we are not a federal union,” said François Heisbourg, special adviser at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Paris. .

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The US should ask Europe, what’s your agenda? We want to get on board when it comes to climate change, a deal with Iran and more, but the Biden administration must first ask Europe: what’s your policy?” also an analyst in the European arm of the American think tank Carnegie Foundation, Judy Dempsey.

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The EU has an awful lot of things to do with the US. And much of it has been damaged under the Trump administration: the Iran dossier, the climate change, the reconstruction of multilateral relations, a whole agenda,” said Dempsey.

Biden spoke at the online Munich Security Conference about many new forms of cooperation after his State Department said yesterday that the US is ready to “discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program.” Because Trump also withdrew from that deal with Iran.

Heisbourg and Dempsey regularly bumped into Biden in recent decades. “He has warm feelings for Europe,” says Heisbourg. “But the strategic hub of the world is no longer Europe, that is Asia.”

European leaders think they are going back to the good old days with Biden, Heisbourg says. “Article link

The Trump era is behind us, relations will be ‘civilized’ again, but the world of yore no longer exists.”

Some consensus

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The main foreign problem for the US revolves around its relationship with China, both experts say. “Article link

The new relationship with Europe depends on whether the Americans think Europe is helping or hindering their relationship with China. That’s important to Biden, but it would be important to any US president,” Heisbourg said.

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The EU puts interests above values ​​and norms,” says Dempsey. “Biden does not want to criticize the Europeans, but the trade agreement with China at the end of last year was disappointing. Biden does not really have his hands free now.”

“That the US has to face China is perhaps the only consensus that exists in America at the moment. Article link

The only subject on which Republicans and Democrats more or less agree, and the great challenge for European diplomats and heads of state,” said Heisbourg.

Problems at home

Because although the entire EU eventually rallied behind a trade agreement with China, there is considerable division in most other areas. Heisbourg: “Division on a subject like China is a luxury we cannot afford.”

And then there are the problems at home for the EU, such as the decline of the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. Trump had nothing but praise for leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán. But that will be different under Biden.

“We have to show that democracies can still mean something to people. That’s our mission. Democracy doesn’t happen by accident, we have to defend and strengthen and renew it. We have to prove that it is not a relic of history,” said Biden.

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