If they have served the European Union the four years that have passed Donald Trump in the White House as commander in chief of the United States is to know with what kind of political leader prefers not to have to deal with the head of the major world power. In that sense, the arrival of Joe Biden the US Administration is seen in Brussels like a opportunity to heal wounds, reduce tensions Y redirect transatlantic relations They have bottomed out with the real estate mogul. Never before had such thick words been heard from across the Atlantic, nor had the challenges, slights and attacks been so direct, nor had the distrust been so deep. Whoever occupies the Oval Office as of January 20, however, nothing will ever be the same.
“Mr. Biden is a multilateralista who wants to form an alliance of democracies and reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) instead of weakening or destroying it “but” we should not be too enthusiastic in the EU “because its arrival will not mean a return” to the old normality “but rather it will be necessary to reinvent “a new normality”, maintains without naivety the president of the Foreign Committee of the European Parliament, the German Christian Democrat David McAllister, before the arrival of a new tenant to the White House.
United States has changed profoundly and it is difficult to find one economic, commercial, environmental or defense policy, in which the protectionist trend, which started before the arrival of the Republican billionaire, has left no trace. Something that has been exacerbated in recent years with a total withdrawal. Trump has removed his country from many of the great international pacts signed by his predecessors. Among them the Paris Agreement on Climate Change -an exit that became effective precisely on electoral night-, Unesco, the nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA) or the Open Skies Treaty on Arms Control.
It has also triggered trade tensions and the tariff war threats with the EU, punishing aluminum and steel and with the sword of Damocles on cars, and, particularly, with China, a “systemic rival” also for the EU. It has continually discredited bodies like the WTO and the World Health Organization (WHO), who has suspended funding, and has not stopped feeding disputes in NATO due to the increase in defense spending, which started with Barack Obama, even threatening to abandon her.
Biden’s victory will open the door to restore old alliances or at least, repair part of the damage caused in security, defense, relations with China, Iran and the Middle East o la digital politics and the Commerce. The former vice president himself with Obama has promised that the United States will return to the multilateralism and to Paris Agreement, an absolute priority for the EU, which augurs more constructive approach and one more positive agenda. However, European politicians and analysts are under no illusions about the possibility of reversing all the changes. Especially in relation to America first and, even less, if one takes into account that the great priority of the democrat will not be Europe but to fight against a coronavirus pandemic uncontrolled and reconcile an absolutely divided country.
Hence, the calls in the EU to develop what they have dubbed “strategic autonomy ” and that, according to the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, means defending “interests and values” autonomously, without waiting for US leadership, assuming greater responsibility and leadership in the international sphere and becoming once and for all the world’s third great potential. “It is in the interest of our own security to be able to face crises on our doorstep” and “this applies more than ever after the elections, regardless of who wins,” the German Foreign Minister said a few days ago, Heiko Maas.