FILE PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a pre-Thanksgiving speech at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

EU Leaders Plan Appeal to Biden to Rebuild Transatlantic Ties

Bloomberg
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December 1, 2020

By Jonathan Stearns (Bloomberg) —

The European Union plans a sweeping proposal for transatlantic cooperation to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden in a bid to repair relations soured by Donald Trump.

“The EU looks forward to working together with the U.S.,” according to draft conclusions of a meeting of the 27 EU leaders next week seen by Bloomberg. “We stand ready to discuss shared priorities with the new President of the United States.”

The initiative seeks to overcome frustration and bitterness in Europe resulting from President Trump’s “America First” agenda that has shaken the world order. One goal is to help Europe counter increasingly assertive powers including China and Russia.

The European Commission is due to add detail to the plan on Wednesday. The aim is to bring the U.S. back into the multilateral system that the country was instrumental in forging after World War II and to leverage transatlantic unity to shape global developments in policy areas ranging from trade to health.

“This combined power and influence is indispensable to anchor global cooperation in the 21st century,” the commission, the 27-nation EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said in a draft of the strategy paper seen by Bloomberg News. “Our joint commitment is essential in a world where authoritarian powers seek to subvert democracies, aggressive actors try to destabilize regions and institutions, and closed economies exploit the openness our own societies depend on.”

The offer more than a month and a half before Biden takes office on Jan. 20 reflects the EU’s eagerness to put transatlantic ties on a new footing after they hit unprecedented post-war lows during Trump’s term.

Following are elements of the commission’s proposal:

TRADE

  • Agree on a new director-general of the World Trade Organization and reform the faltering institution
  • Intensify EU-U.S.-Japan work on giving the WTO more teeth to tackle trade-distorting subsidies
  • Negotiate a transatlantic settlement on aid to aircraft makers Airbus SE and Boeing Co.
  • End U.S. duties on European steel and aluminum based on national-security grounds

TECHNOLOGY

  • Cooperate on “digital supply-chain security”
  • Coordinate approaches to cyber security
  • Seek a transatlantic agreement on artificial intelligence
  • Start a transatlantic dialog on “the responsibility of online platforms”
  • Strengthen antitrust cooperation in digital markets
  • Commit to reaching an international accord on the taxation of digital companies in the framework of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

CLIMATE

  • Forge a transatlantic commitment to a “net-zero emissions pathway by 2050”
  • Work “closely together” on emissions trading, carbon pricing and taxation, including a planned EU carbon border adjustment mechanism

HEALTH

  • Secure U.S. agreement to join the international push for equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Develop a “pandemic playbook” for preparedness and response to future emergencies
  • Strengthen the independence, transparency and accountability of the World Health Organization

SECURITY

  • Rejoin forces to preserve the international accord on controlling Iran’s nuclear program
  • Step up support for a democratic transition in Belarus
  • Establish a coordinated approach in relations with Turkey
  • Create a “structured EU-U.S. Security and Defense Dialog”

–With assistance from Nikos Chrysoloras.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P
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