Tuesday 11/24/20

Biden, a new hope for Europe

A person holds a picture of the US president-elect, Joe Biden, during celebrations in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/dpa.
A person holds a picture of the US president-elect, Joe Biden, during celebrations in Seattle. Photo: David Ryder/dpa.

After four days of tense dispute, the American media finally said that Joe Biden won the chaotic presidential election. Biden's victory is an important development both for the United States and for the whole world, which has seen how the multilateral institutions become ineffective when someone like Donald Trump leads the superpower.

Some countries like Russia, Turkey, Hungary or Poland do not like Trump’s defeat. The rest of the world, in turn, is somehow optimistic. People in the European Union (EU) are now asking what Joe Biden's presidency really means for the EU.

It is known that Joe Biden has always supported transatlantic relations. Unlike Trump, Biden wants NATO to be strong and the United States to enhance its relations with Europe. However, nobody expects now that Biden will prioritize international relations. America has its own internal problems such as the coronavirus epidemic, racism and economic decline. And the American people want that their new commander in chief first try to solve these domestic issues.

The first effects of Biden’s incoming Presidency can be seen now in Belarus. With the support of the USA, the EU will increase its pressure for a government change in the former Soviet republic. Even the EU leaders understood in the past four years that without the USA their power is limited.

Greek-Turkish dispute

The other important issue for Europe is the tensions in the East Mediterranean area. Biden’s position on Greece’s dispute with Turkey comes after months of tensions between the two countries and Cyprus over maritime boundaries and drilling rights in these strategic waters.

"The Trump administration must press Turkey to refrain from any further provocative actions in the region against Greece, including threats of force, to create the space for diplomacy to succeed," Biden said in a statement on 6th of October.

Biden has also objected the Turkish decision of turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque and said it should become a museum again. "I also call on Turkish President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to reverse his recent decision to convert the Hagia Sophia to a mosque and to return this treasure to its former status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all, including the orthodox faithful," he said in a statement.

New EU partner needed

But as I said before, Biden has lots of domestic issues to take care of. And for that reason he will probably look for a new partner inside of the EU. It is well known that the United Kingdom and the US have strong relations, but after Brexit, America must find a new partner. This could be France. French President Emmanuel Macron, with the strong  support of the US, could put forward a new foreign policy for the EU.

There are other things that probably will not change. The Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum as well as on European wines. While the tone is getting much friendlier, the Biden administration is unlikely to return to the status quo overnight.

Trump has accused American democrats of being friends with “global elites”, but the reality is that the democrats are usually in good relations with American workers. For that reason, it would probably be easier to seal a trade arrangement with the Biden administration. However, it would not be an easy negotiation, given that the United States' trade deficit with Europe has soared to more than $ 170 billion.

Free trade agreement

Biden could open the door to renewing a transatlantic free trade agreement after his second year in office.

One thing is certain for European countries: relations with the Biden administration will be easier than they were during Trump's mandate. It is certain that Joe Biden intends to give the State Department much more power. And European allies will have a responsible authority in the US to deliver their concerns.

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