VBefore his much-anticipated summit with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, America’s President Joe Biden will meet the leaders of the European Union this Tuesday. Biden is to meet with EU Council President Charles Michel and Commission Head Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels around noon.
After the many conflicts with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, the aim of the conversation is to demonstrate the allies’ new unity on issues such as climate protection and the fight against the pandemic. In addition, it will be about the economic recovery and the geopolitical situation.
However, both sides still have unresolved issues, including the punitive tariffs imposed on each other in recent years. A solution will be sought by the end of the year at the latest, according to EU circles in advance. The summit will not solve all problems, but: “Diplomacy is back.”
Trump had repeatedly verbally attacked the EU, snubbed it alone and imposed punitive tariffs, to which Brussels then responded with countermeasures. On the other hand, Biden, who clearly attaches greater importance to closer coordination with allies, already praised this weekend: “For my part, I believe that the European Union is an incredibly strong and lively entity.”
Biden is looking for support in China and Russia
Biden has been on a European tour since last week. It is his first trip abroad since taking office in January. At the G7 and NATO summits and now at the meeting with EU leaders, he wants to mend the strained relations with the allies during the Trump era and get support in the strategic rivalry with China and Russia. According to Biden, at the NATO summit, he also discussed his meeting with Putin with the allies.
“I will make President Putin understand that there are areas in which we can work together if he chooses,” said Biden after the NATO summit. “And in the areas where we do not agree, make it clear what the red lines are.” The heads of state and government of NATO had thanked him for meeting Putin now.
What Biden will talk to the EU about
The joint summit declaration by the EU and the USA was refined to the last minute before the meeting. But the topics are known:
Trade: After Trump came harmony in relations with the EU with Biden, but a big sticking point remains: Both sides have imposed punitive tariffs on each other and would actually like to get rid of them. On the one hand, there is tariffs in the endless dispute over subsidies for the respective aviation groups – Boeing in the USA, Airbus in the EU. On the other hand, about Trump’s punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum and the countermeasures imposed by the EU.
You spend “a lot of sweat on working on a solution”, it is said from EU circles. According to the latest information, there could be a deal on the Airbus / Boeing issue this Tuesday, if not at least by July 11th. When it comes to steel and aluminum, however, discussions are more difficult. The USA did not want to commit to an end date until the end. In any case, a so-called trade and technology council should be agreed. This could, for example, set common standards and thus facilitate business.
Corona: As at the G7 meeting, the aim is to end the pandemic as quickly as possible and to accelerate the global vaccination campaign. On the way, however, there is no complete agreement. Biden had proposed a suspension of vaccine patents, which the EU is skeptical.
Climate: Here, too, there is a common goal. By 2050, the economy should become climate neutral, that is, greenhouse gases should be avoided or bound. But even at the G7 meeting, for example, there was no agreement on a fixed goal for the coal phase-out. The agreements at the EU summit should not remove this sticking point. However, a technology partnership is planned to promote green innovations.
Geopolitics: What next with Russia and China? The big topics of Biden’s trip to Europe, which already determined the summits of the G7 and NATO, are also on the table in talks with the EU. A high-level dialogue between the EU and the USA on Russia policy will probably be announced afterwards. A similar format already exists in China. The aim is closer coordination in dealing with the two major global rivals.