23rd Mar 2023

EU keen to repair damage of Trump years

  • Victory of US president-elect Joe Biden was "a once-in-a-generation opportunity", the EU said (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The EU has set out how to undo the damage caused by four years of US president Donald Trump's rule, by trying to "make multilateralism great again".

The phrase, contained in an EU strategy paper on US relations, out on Wednesday (2 December), poked fun at Trump's slogan of "make America great again".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The paper noted that Trump's jingoism had left a lasting mark on transatlantic relations, by pushing Europe to seek "greater strategic autonomy".

It also noted that the rise in Chinese economic power had changed the global landscape.

"We should not embark on a nostalgic search for the global order of past decades ... The US and the EU have changed, as have power dynamics and geopolitical and technological realities," it said.

But it placed hope in US president-elect Joe Biden, saying there was, once again "a commonality of outlook ... between the incoming US administration and the European Union".

And it described Biden's victory as "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design a new transatlantic agenda".

Trump had torn up plans for an EU-US free-trade pact designed to contain Chinese power.

He also attacked the World Health Organisation's (WHO) efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, walked out of a UN climate-change deal, and an EU-brokered Iran nuclear disarmament treaty, as well as insulting EU leaders and championing Brexit.

The EU's new agenda called on Biden to join the EU and WHO in trying to ensure global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and the UN on creating carbon neutrality by 2050.

It looked forward to Biden's proposed "Summit for Democracy" in which Europe would "seek joint commitments with the US to fight the rise of authoritarianism, human rights abuses, and corruption".

It also said the EU and US should hail their new partnership at a bilateral summit in the first half of 2021.

It made no mention of reviving the free-trade pact, but said it would "work closely with the US to solve bilateral trade irritants".

It also spoke of teaming up with the US against China on development and regulation of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and '5G' data networks, by creating a regular "EU-US Trade and Technology Council".

"We expect things can be improved on all fronts - on climate for sure, on the Iran nuclear deal also," EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told press in Brussels on Wednesday.

He proposed new talks at foreign-minister level on the Iran pact even before Biden took office in January and new talks on China shortly afterward.

"I think it [reviving the Iran deal] is the only way to avoid Iran becoming a nuclear power," he said.

But he said it was "crazy" to say the EU and US aimed to lock out China from the global market in new technologies.

"We want a level playing field, reciprocity [with China]," he said.

He said Europe's bid for greater economic and military "self-reliance" was not designed to compete with US power, but to make the EU a more effective ally.

But he also echoed the strategy paper in saying it would be impossible to reset the clock to pre-Trump days.

"The past few years [of Trump] were a bumpy road and we're not going to go back to where we were before," Borrell said.

EU scolds Trump on his WHO 'finger-pointing'

EU commission has accused US leader of undermining multilateral cooperation, after his latest threat to permanently cut off World Health Organization funding.


What does Trump's 'coup' mean for Europe?

If Trump is still alive, healthy, free and tweeting politics by 2023, I think we all can officially start to worry. Not only for the American democracy, but for democracies in Europe and the rest of the world.


How much can we trust Russian opinion polls on the war?

The lack of Russian opposition to the Russo-Ukrainian War is puzzling. The war is going nowhere, Russian casualties are staggering, the economy is in trouble, and living standards are declining, and yet polls indicate that most Russians support the war.


Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown

Turkey goes to the polls in May for both a new parliament and new president, after incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided against a post-earthquake postponement. The parliamentary outcome is easy to predict — the presidential one less so.

Latest News

  1. Sweden worried by EU visa-free deal with Venezuela
  2. Spain denies any responsibility in Melilla migrant deaths
  3. How much can we trust Russian opinion polls on the war?
  4. Banning PFAS 'forever chemicals' may take forever in Brussels
  5. EU Parliament joins court case against Hungary's anti-LGBTI law
  6. Three French MEPs to stay on election-observation blacklist
  7. Turkey's election — the Erdoğan vs Kılıçdaroğlu showdown
  8. When geopolitics trump human rights, we are all losers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality
  5. Promote UkraineInvitation to the National Demonstration in solidarity with Ukraine on 25.02.2023
  6. Azerbaijan Embassy9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and 1st Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us