“America is back. And we’re happy you’re back.”For example, European Council President Charles Michel welcomed new US president Joe Biden to the online summit of EU leaders. It was the first time since 2014 that a US president had resumed direct dialogue with EU leaders. Seven years ago, Barack Obama was in Brussels for an EU-US summit. Now EU leaders had to do it with a face on a screen across the Atlantic.
“This is a historic opportunity to revitalize our partnership,” Michel said. Under Donald Trump, transatlantic relations were severely disrupted, as Trump withdrew his country from a number of important international organizations and treaties, including the Paris climate treaty. With Biden, the wind seems to blow from a different angle. He has already repaired some of those breaches, and the US, for example, is back in the climate agreement. Expectations in the EU are therefore high.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said afterwards that he had spoken to Biden before, when he was Obama’s vice president. “It is, of course, a strong president who is really anchored, you see, in the transatlantic relationship and is very attached to it.”