Bringing transatlantic relations back to cooperation trajectory

Wednesday, 2021-06-09 09:05:28
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US President Joe Biden's first foreign presidential trip aims to materialise the US’ new commitment to its traditional allies and partners. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – In an article published by the Washington Post on June 6, ahead of his visit to Europe, US President Joe Biden clearly stated that the goal of his first foreign presidential trip is to materialise the US’ new commitment to its traditional allies and partners, whilst affirming the ability of the “alliance of democracies” to cope with challenges in the new context.

According to the schedule announced by the White House, President Biden will attend the G7 Summit in the UK from June 11-13, before travelling to Belgium for the NATO and EU-US Summits on June 14. US presidents usually make their first foreign trip shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, which is always closely watched by the public because it reflects the priorities of US foreign policy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 46th US President to have a later debut than usual. Biden’s choice of destination and the agenda of his European visit show that the new US administration gives top priority to the goal of restoring the long-standing transatlantic relationship.

US’ relations with the EU and its NATO allies in Europe have gone through a period of deterioration and even hit the bottom, which has been attributed to Washington’s “America First” policy, as well as to trade disputes and its request for NATO allies’ “fair share” as part of the alliance. Immediately after taking office, President Biden sent a message that he wanted to soon restore cooperation with allies and partners in Europe. In the first joint events with Europe, the US leader expressed his goodwill to “revive” and re-build transatlantic cooperation with the EU, with strong statements such as “the US is back, the transatlantic alliance is back.” US officials have taken advantage of diplomatic opportunities to highlight the message that the US is committed to working with Europe to reset bilateral relations, share common values ​​and interests, and cope with new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, or cybersecurity.

The upcoming trip to attend the NATO Summit and talk directly with the EU leaders will offer a “golden opportunity” for the US President to affirm his goodwill with new commitments to allies and partners. At these events, President Biden will reinforce the US commitments to multilateralism while promoting Washington’s policy priorities on improving public health, economic recovery, and climate change response, as well as asserting the importance of cooperation, solidarity and the sharing of common values ​​among major democracies. In the Washington Post article, the US leader stated that during his in-person meetings with the European leaders, he would affirm the US’ steadfast commitment to its allies, thus ensuring the transnational alliance will remain strong in the face of challenges. The US supports its allies in pursuing the goal of a whole, free and at-peace Europe.

Meanwhile, President Biden’s meeting with G7 leaders comes not long after the group of rich countries reached a historic consensus on imposing a global minimum corporate tax of 15%. The US appreciates this commitment and will work with the G7 to push for a final agreement to stop the “race to the bottom”, when countries impose extremely low taxes or tax exemptions on multinational corporations. According to President Biden, by returning to the “chairmanship” of efforts to combat climate change, the US is committed to contributing to and advancing the progress in curbing the climate crisis and creating jobs through global clean energy transition.

Allies and partners have always played an important role in US foreign relations, and the strengthening of traditional alliances has been identified as a foreign policy pillar of the Biden administration. Striving to revive the transatlantic relationship has been chosen as a priority in Washington’s foreign policy because it also helps the US to reaccelerate its global engagement policy. With the support of Europe, the US’ goal of re-establishing transatlantic partnership is now favourable. However, the process of improving relations in the coming time will not be easy at all, as there remain problems between the two sides, especially with a number of key issues such as trade, financial contributions to NATO’s operations, or the idea currently emerging in Europe on increasing the EU autonomy and reducing its dependence on the US “security umbrella.”

The upcoming meetings between leaders on the two sides of the Atlantic are therefore expected to help remove problems, promptly renew the traditional alliance, and bring the two sides back to the inherent cooperation trajectory.