For the first time in seven years, there will be talks again at the highest level between Washington and Brussels on Tuesday.
US President Joe Biden, unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, considers cooperation with the European Union to be of great importance. The EU is eager to restore transatlantic ties, including resolving some of the trade and other conflicts that have escalated under Trump.
The President of the European Council of Heads of Government and State, Charles Michel, has already rolled out the red carpet in the Europa building in Brussels. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will also attend the meeting, which will conclude with a joint statement. It lists the topics in which the existing collaboration will be deepened, which new initiatives will be taken and which ambitious plans there are.
According to EU sources, tackling the corona pandemic and the economy’s recovery is central, but the two superpowers are not exactly aligned everywhere. For example, unlike Biden, the EU is not in favour of releasing the patents on vaccines, and Brussels wants the US to export more vaccines worldwide. It is also important for the EU that the supply chain remains open to things like semiconductors. There is an increasing shortage of chips in Europe, such as the car industry and raw materials.
The US and EU are likely to intensify their cooperation on combating issues that disrupt democracy, such as disinformation, foreign interference or cyber-attacks – often by Russia and China in particular. “But we have to keep China on board,” said a diplomat. The door must remain open because the country is needed in the ongoing fight against climate change, for example.
It is not for nothing that EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell is also part of the talks. He will also probably want to know what Biden will say to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday during his meeting about Ukraine and Belarus.
The EU also hopes to find a solution to the sanctions that both sides have imposed on each other over aviation subsidies (the Americans to Boeing, the Europeans to Airbus) and a heated conflict over steel and aluminium. Finally, an announcement to cut tariffs could be one of the most tangible results of the EU-US summit.