Tue. Jan 19th, 2021
EU to Propose Fresh Alliance With US Under Biden Administration to Combat China - Reports

The European Union will attempt to reinvigorate its alliance with the United States to restore its close relationship with Washington after the departure of President Trump from office to refocus efforts against China, according to the Financial Times.

In its report on Sunday, the news outlet revealed a draft plan to repair the relationship that became strained during the Trump era which will include the EU calling on Washington to take a “once in a generation” chance to establish a global alliance to meet what they call the “strategic challenge” of rising Chinese influence globally.

As part of the new international arrangement, the EU is seeking to restore ties in common sectors such as tech, coronavirus, and democratic principles.

The Financial Times claims that the draft document has been prepared by the European Commission because the EU-US alliance needs “maintenance and renewal” so that the two may reassert their interests in opposing the ascendancy of “authoritarian” powers.

“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to consider this,” the draft says, according to the UK newspaper.

Entitled A new EU-US agenda for global change, the 11-page policy, at present in its early stages, includes a call for Washington and European authorities to mediate the strained relations over ongoing transatlantic disagreements.

These include the EU’s push for increased taxes on US corporations – such as Amazon and Google – while they operate within the bloc.

The draft paper also proposes a joint effort to form a digital regulatory framework, including adopting common approaches to antitrust laws, data protection, a co-operative approach to fighting cyber-threats, and collaboration regarding oversight of tender foreign investments. 

Other aspects of the document propose co-operation over Covid-19 vaccine distribution and working hand-in-hand to push for World Health Organisation reform.

The move reflects an attempt by Brussels to turn a page in US relations after the projected victory of Democrat nominee Joe Biden over present incumbent Donald Trump.

“The arrival of a new administration and congress … is an opportunity for the EU to renew and reinvigorate its strategic partnership with the US based on mutual interests,” the document reads.

“The EU should agree a set of concrete priorities on which to engage the new US leadership,” it added. 

EU China flags

It also highlighted concern among EU authorities over the growing influence of China and how weakened transatlantic relations in recent years has been geopolitically advantageous for Beijing.

The draft document also offers support for Joe Biden’s proposal to organise a summit of so-called democratic nations, and stressed that the new transatlantic regime should seek to establish a “linchpin of a new global alliance of like-minded partners”.

According to the FT, the commission’s paper is scheduled to be submitted for backing from national leaders during a conference on 10-11 December and suggests that the EU-US summit in the first half of 2021 will be used to formalise the new arrangement.

The European Union will kick-off talks on Monday over how to “renew and reinvigorate” relations most effectively between the bloc and Washington post-Trump, another internal document seen by Reuters suggests.

Envoys from the 27 EU member states will look into five broad areas of interest where there is potential for further co-operation under a Biden Administration. 

Another document lists areas such as Health – including fighting the COVID-19 pandemic – aiding economic rejuvenation, combating climate change, promoting peace and security, and defending shared values such as a belief in multilateral laws.

Meet the New Boss

An unnamed EU diplomat warned that the US may not necessarily agree on all points raised even with a change of guard in Washington next year.

“There will be a change of tone from Biden, but the tough US stance on China, the insistence that Europeans spend more on defence – they will remain,” the diplomat said.

Biden was invited by former Belgian prime minister Charles Michel, who leads the European Council, to an in-person meeting in 2021, with a potential virtual summit soon after his ascension to office in January.


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REUTERS / JIM BOURG
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill, and Democratic 2020 U.S. vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Doug, react to the confetti at their election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 7, 2020.

Trump received widespread opposition from European Countries after the United States withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement, when Washington removed itself from the Iran nuclear deal, when it introduced taxes on imported EU products and when it attacked international organisations – such as the WTO and NATO – that Washington previously supported.

​However, the European Union has followed the Trump Administration on particular issues of foreign policy, such as supporting the self-proclaimed President of Venezuela – Juan Guaido, and imposing sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s elected government in Caracas.

Although opponents of former vice-president Biden dubbed him Beijing Biden over alleged reluctance to combat Beijing, the prioritisation of China as a global strategic threat in the document also indicates that disagreements between Europe, Biden, and the Trump administration are more related to differences in strategy than policy aim.

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