USA and EU: Joe Biden meets von der Leyen and Michelle

USA and EU: Joe Biden meets von der Leyen and Michelle

The big line-up is as follows: This Tuesday, US President Joe Biden will meet top EU representatives on his Europe visit. At the meeting in Brussels, in addition to Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, three deputy commission chairmen will be present – ​​Margrethe Vestager, who is responsible for digital affairs, trade expert Valdis Dombrowski and foreign policy expert. Josep Borrell. Von der Leyen’s substantial reinforcement reflects the breadth of subject matter that this EU-US summit is supposed to deal with.

It will be about trade and digital policy, climate protection and the fight against epidemics, Russia and China’s prevention. However, above all, this meeting aims to make a new beginning in relations between the European Union and the United States. Relations were severely damaged under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump: a Brexit fan Trump claimed the EU was exploiting the United States and was “hostile” to it; Protectionist imposed punitive tariffs on Europe. On the other hand, they put little importance on discussing things and solving problems together.

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Since Biden took office, relations have improved “quite rapidly” and there has been a lot of exchanges, an EU diplomat said on Monday. The new agreement tone does not change the fact that points of contention remain – for example in trade policy. Even the summit will not be able to solve it. Hopefully a breakthrough may be possible after everyone is shattered during the joint preparation of the Final Announcement. Americans responded to an ambitious EU draft with a proposal that remained vague about sticking points such as punitive tariffs or WTO reform.

A combined draft, available for SZ, is now much shorter at seven pages than the 25-page one. final declaration From the G-7 summit in Cornwall over the weekend. But surprisingly, the themes strongly overlap.

Uighurs, Tibet, Hong Kong: Much criticism of Beijing

One of the most concrete announcements in the draft EU-US summit is that the two sides want to coordinate their policy towards Russia in “high-level talks” – a similar format already exists for China policy. Moscow called for the release of political prisoners and an end to the repression of the opposition and free media. The fact that Russia continues to undermine the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia is condemned.

The Joint Declaration describes China as a cooperative partner, competitor and system rival – just like the European Union has been giving it as a guideline for two years. Washington and Brussels stress the importance of peaceful resolution of conflicts between China and Taiwan; Human rights violations against Uighurs and Tibetans and the abolition of democratic rights in Hong Kong have been criticized, as have Chinese propaganda campaigns.

Discomfort with China is also one of the reasons for the second concrete announcement planned for the summit: the EU and US seek to establish a Trade and Technology Council. Commission six months ago suggested. Brussels and Washington want to exchange information on the standards of future technologies such as artificial intelligence and avoid new barriers to cross-border trade in these industries. China is not mentioned in these passages of the draft, but it is clear that Brussels and Washington want to work together to prevent China from setting global technology standards.

Biden fears union wrath

There is a role model for this council – and it suggests very little good news: at the 2007 EU-US summit, transatlantic economic council was established, and so far it has not had any great success. A sensitive issue that the new council may address is the rules for data transfer. The European Court of Justice has reversed the agreement that allows companies to make such transfers in the United States. The US government wants to conclude a successor contract quickly, the commission wants to see better protection for the data of EU citizens from the US secret services. In the draft summit, both sides only promise that they will continue to work towards restoring legal certainty.

Statements on trade disputes are similarly ambiguous. Biden’s predecessor Trump reportedly imposed special tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in 2018 to protect national security. The European Union responded with retaliatory tariffs on various American products, such as jeans, whiskey, motorcycles and peanut butter. There will be no commitment to incur these charges. Apparently Biden shied away from this because these protective tariffs are popular with trade unions.

Chances are better for Boeing and Airbus in the ongoing dispute over subsidies. The European Union and the United States have been debating aid to aircraft manufacturers since 2004 – and with World Trade Organization approval imposed billions in punitive tariffs in 2019 and 2020. agreed in march Von der Leyen and Biden, however, to suspend punitive tariffs due to aircraft subsidies until 11 July. During this time, Brussels and Washington want to agree on the rules about which subsidies are acceptable. The draft summit declaration states that both sides have committed themselves to “find a balanced and effective solution” by this date. Less than four weeks are left for the 17-year-old to end the controversy.

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