A draft plan prepared by the European Union (EU) has revealed it wants to forge a new alliance with the United States to bury the tensions of the Trump era and meet the challenges posed by China.
The plan proposes rebuilding ties, with common fronts on issues ranging from digital regulation to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Relations between the US and Europe have been strained under President Donald Trump. The EU and most of the bloc’s states have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden following the November 3rd election.
“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge presented by China’s growing international assertiveness, even if we do not always agree on the best way to address this,” the plan said.
The plan, which will be submitted for endorsement by national leaders at a meeting on December 10th-11th, also proposed the launch of a new transatlantic agenda in an EU-US summit in the first half of 2021.
Earlier in November, the EU imposed tariffs on up to $4bn of US imports in retaliation for US subsidies for Boeing but said it was hopeful of an improvement in trade ties under President-elect Biden.
EU trade chief, Valdis Dombrovskis said the European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 27 EU member states, had made some informal contacts with the Biden team.
The draft paper, prepared by the Commission, also says the EU-US partnership needs “maintenance and renewal” if the democratic world is to assert its interests against “authoritarian powers” and “closed economies [that] exploit the openness our own societies depend on.”
Under Trump, the US has been reluctant to coordinate its response to China with the EU, frustrating many in Brussels, and has even imposed its own trade measures against the EU.
The plan proposes the EU and US join forces to shape the digital regulatory environment, including by adopting common approaches to antitrust enforcement and data protection, cooperating on screening of sensitive foreign investments, and working together to fight threats to cybersecurity.
However, German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas has advanced that the EU faces a potentially “combative” relationship with new US President Joe Biden as it seeks to establish sovereignty in trade and international relations.
He added at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forums that with global trade deals being struck, the EU needed to rapidly resolve its differences over exports with the US and come to an agreement.
“We as Europeans need to get up out of our seats,” Mr Maas said. “The US presidency is not going to change everything and I think that a lot is going to be combative with Joe Biden.”
Other parts of the draft plan calls for cooperation on the development and dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines and joint work to reform the World Health Organization.
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