Biden is a Prerequisite for the Rapid Recovery of EU-US Relations

After a few days of drama and several embarrassing moments by the incumbent President Trump, it is now clear that the majority of US voters wish to see significant changes in the US foreign policy, as Joe Biden becomes the new US President.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

The world has already met Biden as one of the US top leaders when in 2009–2017 he served alongside President Obama as Vice President. In any case, the US presidential election results will have a major impact on world politics, including on relations between Europe and the United States.

Biden’s victory suggests that US relations and attitudes towards Europe, the EU and NATO will improve at a relatively rapid pace. Relations are thus returning to where they should be in today’s world in which countries sharing the same values should cooperate closely.

In many ways, Biden needs to take action to restore US-EU relations to the level they were before Trump took office. Because Trump’s presidency did a lot of damage, created uncertainty and turbulence as well as destroyed trust, which is a prerequisite for a functioning relations.

For instance, after being elected as President, one of the first things Trump did was to state that he did not wish to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU. The negotiations were halted and unfortunately, there has been no progress in recent years.

On the contrary, the EU and US have almost reached a trade war, since the US began unilaterally imposing tariffs on EU products. Sadly, this trend has been continuing. We are a long way from trade talks. We must now return to the rapprochement.

Another blow to the EU-US relations has been the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, especially as fighting climate change is a priority for the EU. However, now it is likely that the US will return to the Paris Agreement.

Regrettably, the turbulence between USA and Europe has also affected our security.

Just a few months ago, the US announced the withdrawal of some of its troops from Europe, mainly from Germany. Unfortunately, this was not the result of serious discussions among NATO allies, but instead a completely unilateral step.

Even during the presidential campaign, there were some worrying signals that if Trump continues as President, the discussion over leaving NATO altogether might gain more momentum.

With the election of Biden, greater turbulence in US-EU security relations is expected to be over, and future decisions can be made again by discussing things together, normally.

Another poor development in recent times was that the US took a harsh stance towards the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is basically the only real instrument in today’s world, which is able, at least to a certain extent, to ensure the respect of human rights and serves as a deterrence against perpetrators of crimes against humanity or against those who are considering committing such horrendous acts. The harsh approach towards the ICC is also likely to end now.

The US’ unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has further broken trust between the EU and US. The same goes for Trump’s meetings with dictators and leaders of authoritarian countries, such as with the North Korean leader and with Vladimir Putin. As you might recall, there were some very strange messages given at the Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit.

Given Biden’s experience as US Vice President, such flirtation with dictators will no longer continue. Instead, the closest partners of the US leader will once again be the leaders of other free societies.

We can conclude from these developments that the EU-US relations have suffered and deteriorated greatly in recent years. Moreover, this has definitely not been the EU’s initiative. Now it is crucial to restore the good relations to the same level as we remember them from before. This is important to our security and economy.

In the light of growing pressure from authoritarian countries such as China and Russia, this cooperation will play a key role in sustaining and protecting our democratic value system in the world.

It is true that good functioning relations require constant work. However, the preconditions for achieving results are now much better than before. Trump should now keep calm and hand over the power to Biden without further damaging the US authority with blatant accusations. The Taliban’s strange recommendation to elect Trump did not receive enough support this time around, and US voters have turned a new page in their country’s history.

Member of the European Parliament @RenewEurope & Vice-Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Estonian Foreign Minister 2005–2014 & Minister of Culture 2003–2005.

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