Joe Biden’s visit to Europe, where he met the other 6 countries of G7 and the other 25 NATO countries, served to make it clear that the United States wants to go back to deal the cards again. Both military and economic ones. And in just one day, everyone agreed.
Trump gave the impression that America was gone. But he did not realize that the “poor” brothers of Eastern Europe are in the European Union and in good and safe economic growth and now they have the strength to settle the still open accounts with their former oppressors. First of all with the help of NATO. Many of those countries are also wary of countries that still think about communism they had suffered for a long time. Biden knows. His staff, with a long career in international affairs, know this. And they decided to bring the American flag back to Europe. With some resistance from Merkel and Macron, but the commercial counterpart offered to Europeans has been very tempting, knowing they have to recover from the pandemic.
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It seemed impossible. The 17-year trade dispute between the EU and the U.S. over Airbus and Boieng, which led to more consumer product disputes, is over. Trump got us used to tug-of-war with half the world, because he wanted to let people know he could do it alone. Not with the U.S. administration or the WTO. But alone!
Biden’s political priority
But for Biden the priority is the political one. For the United States. not for himself.
The goal is to strengthen the United States‘ world leadership and to do so it needs allies. Who if not the Europeans in the first place? And strengthened by the American experience in Europe in the immediate postwar period, Biden arrived with his hands full of gifts, to give Europeans a new chance of rebirth after the coronavirus and a renewed military security.
EU and the need to recover from the pandemic shock
So, if it is clear that Biden’s goal was to reunite the Western alliance against Russia and China under the American flag, why have Europeans finally put aside some resistance? Let us recall, for example, that Germany has always fueled its foreign policy with close relations with Russia and China for known economic objectives. And that the EU is increasing its trade relations with China, which has now become the largest trading partner.
Essentially for two reasons. The first is NATO. We often forget that NATO, in addition to offering a security umbrella to Europe, is an economic and military machine worth around 1 trillion dollars a year. With troops from 26 countries that are constantly on the move. So a double resource.
The second reason, which has particularly opened the hearts of the French, is the end of the trade disputes between Airbus and Boeing and the elimination of duties on wine and cheese. According to the latest OECD report, in 2021 the world lost 8.5% of GDP, with Europe at -6.7%, the worst after India. If the United States did not offer economic support to Europeans, in exchange for giving up energy supplies from Russia and trade with China, which has become the EU’s first trading partner, no European leader would accept Biden’s diktat.
One U.S. Administration vs. 27 EU Member States
Let us remember that while the United States is a federation led by one man who indicates the priority goal, Europe is always fragmented into 27 countries with at least 27 distinct goals. However, one that is common to the 27 today: the economic recovery after the pandemic. But, still nothing about one foreign policy and a global strategy.
The new American administration then brought various gifts to all Europeans. More or less. And the EU institutions are happy to take all the credit for the end of many trade disputes, even if it did not depend on them. However, they bring home commercial truces that had involved a lot of EU diplomatic activity for many years.
End of dispute between EU and US over wine, cheese, airplanes, steel, etc. First step for tech
The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.
It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US President to the EU institutions since 2017.
Key findings from the summit include three major new business initiatives, with the third being the real American priority. The leaders agreed to:
- create a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft
- engage in discussions to resolve differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium by the end of the year
- establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council
Another result of this agreement is to continue to suspend application of their countermeasures (Wine, cheese, olives, etc.) for a period of 5 years, avoiding billions of euros in duties for importers on both sides of the Atlantic.