The Europeans faced during the last four years the first president of U.S that he saw Europe as an enemy and not as an ally. Their pulse did not tremble to defend policies and agreements that Donald Trump rejected or to respond eye for an eye and tooth and tooth to each of his attacks with trade tariffs.
Trump was only well regarded in Europe by the extreme right and by some governments (the Hungarian, partly the Polish and the Slovenian prime minister) that carry a dangerous authoritarian drift. Macron tried to court him without success and Merkel never hesitated to stand up to him. Rome and Madrid tiptoed past.
Four years of shocks end with the arrival of Joe Biden, of whom Europeans hope you rebuild the relationship.
This Wednesday, the president of the European Commission, Úrsula Von der Leyen, applauded that Biden had announced that among his first decrees will be the return to the World Health Organization and the Climate Agreement Paris, a key piece in the fight against the climate crisis.
The United States opens a new era and Europe awaits new relationships. Photo: EFE
Europe breathes relieved. Knowing that the Trump years are proof that the good relationship between Europeans and Americans can no longer be taken for granted and can change depending on who is in the White House. Biden, of Irish origin, and with a new openly pro-European secretary of state, will in principle be a change for the better even if sporadic tensions remain, for example in trade policy.
US policy toward Europe, Brussels hopes, will change to be more constructive and progress will be made on key issues, such as the fight against climate change.
Europeans hope that the Biden Administration will return in the medium term to the Iranian nuclear agreement, from which Trump removed the United States, causing the Iranians to return to enrich uranium and to hinder observers from the International Energy Agency and the United Nations .
Diplomacy with respect
Europe also expects a more classical diplomacy in Washington, more respectful, Far from Trump’s Twitter attacks and the insults left and right. A kind of return to the United States of Barack Obama, from whose administration Biden has taken a good part of his new high positions, although without the charisma of the old president.
With Biden, threats to the future of NATO, the umbrella of European security, will end. Europe also hopes that the new United States will have a more multilateral and cooperative vision in the fight against the pandemic.
Biography and program elements of Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States – AFP / AFP
The business relationship
The frictions that are most clearly seen on the horizon are in commercial matters. A Democrat-controlled US Congress and a Democratic president in the White House will be careful before signing old-fashioned free trade agreements.
Biden, European diplomats acknowledge, must take into account the increasingly powerful left wing of his party, also key in the electoral victory and that has not been able to bring its most prominent members into the new Administration for now. The experts expect more sectoral negotiations, not a great agreement that encompasses all areas.
Some issues have been generating tensions for decades and are still there, like a stone in the shoe. Among them the trade war between the two global aeronautical giants, the American Boeing and the European Airbus.
In Washington, the European initiative to make the digital giants -the majority of the United States- pay taxes like any other large company and do so wherever they actually have their activity, not in the tax haven on duty to which they divert all their profits. .
NATO’s general secretariat is working hard to organize a first extraordinary summit to welcome the new president. Probably in March.
The European institutions intend that Biden’s trip to Brussels, which could be his first abroad, coincides with a face-to-face European summit to which he can invite the successor of the orange man, the one who said that the Belgian capital was “the hole of hell ”.