Joe Biden realises Europe is ‘indispensable partner’ says expert
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President Biden swore the oath of office nearly a month ago and quickly got to work shaping US policy. He has already delivered on several promises via a chain of executive orders, erasing much of Donald Trump’s waning influence. His government could soon live up to foreign expectations as well, as his Secretary of State reportedly plans a trip to the EU.
Kylie Atwood, CNN’s national security correspondent, recently reported Anthony Blinken intends to land in Brussels first.
She said the diplomat could make several overseas trips in the coming year, according to a source.
State Department officials hope to secure meetings with Mr Blinken’s NATO counterparts in Europe and Asia.
More specifically, they reportedly favour Brussels and the Asia Pacific as early destinations.
They have not yet confirmed where the diplomat will stop first.
But the initial itinerary does not include the UK, the other half of the Atlantic “special relationship”.
An itinerary like this would mean Mr Blinken skips an in-person meeting with Sarah MacIntosh, the UK’s NATO ambassador.
The move could confirm suspicions from foreign relations experts who believe Mr Biden hopes to build stronger ties with Brussels.
Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, from the German Marshall Fund, an American public policy think tank, is among them.
Speaking to Euronews, she said Mr Biden has already begun to shift closer to to the bloc.
She added Europeans have remained at the “core of the agenda” for his concerns.
Ms Hoop Scheffer said: “I think he realises that in terms of international priorities, Europe is the indispensable partner.”
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“When you look at Biden’s priorities today, be it the Covid crisis, economic recovery or climate change, we have both seen him sign an executive order to signal that the United States will be re-engaged in the Paris Climate Agreement, which is a significant decision that he took and that obviously Europeans are extremely happy about.
“But on all of these key policy areas, Europeans are at the core of that agenda and so what I see happening is definitely a quite natural pivot to Europe when it comes to designing US foreign policy.”
She added: “There is going to be an interest in dealing directly with Brussels, with the EU institutions on three big issues that are in fact priorities for Biden.
“Number one climate change, number two, of course, the Covid crisis and number three digital issues where the EU has an increasing influence.”
Other experts have previously predicted Mr Biden would likely favour trade deals with countries other than the UK.
Speaking before his inauguration, Lord Darroch, former UK ambassador to the US, said he has two more likely paths ahead.
He told BBC Radio 4: “When he comes to do one, there are two much bigger trade deals that he could potentially do, rather than a deal with a medium-sized country of 65 million people.
“One is he could resume the talks that never finished in (Barack) Obama’s time on an EU-US free trade deal and the other is that he could take America into the transpacific partnership, which is potentially a huge advantage for America and would start to counter Chinese influence in that region.”
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