Europe Hopes for Reset Under Biden 11/24 06:16
BERLIN (AP) -- German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Tuesday he hopes a
reset of U.S.-European relations under the Biden administration can end years
in which Europe was mainly concerned with "damage control."
Maas' counterpart from Portugal, which will have taken over the European
Union presidency when Joe Biden is inaugurated, said Europe wants to be treated
as a "full and equal partner" rather than an enemy of the U.S.
Biden's victory over President Donald Trump has been greeted with relief in
Europe, where differences with the outgoing administration ranged from trade
tensions to defense spending, relations with China and how to handle Iran's
Biden has made clear that he wants to "repair" the trans-Atlantic
relationship, "and that is urgently necessary," Maas said at a panel event in
Recent years, he said, were an exercise in "damage control" on international
diplomacy and issues such as climate change. "Enough of that --- with this, we
are not doing justice to the challenges we face at present."
"The result, because the West wasn't working together any more, was that in
many issues a vacuum arose that was used by China or Russia," Maas said. But he
cautioned that the Europeans "will have to get out of our seats" to grasp new
opportunities, and offer to do more themselves in their immediate neighborhood
as part of what he has termed a " new deal " with the U.S.
Germany holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of December, when
it will hand over to Portugal.
Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva called for new talks with
the U.S. on trade relations. And he noted that a major objection to the Trump
administration's approach was its language.
"We were permanently treated by our American friends, and the Trump
administration, not as friends and allies but as adversaries or even enemies,"
he said. "And we were always asked to choose: either you are with us, the
Americans, or you are with China."
"Of course we are with the Americans, but not as the minor partner, not as a
follower ... it's a question of being a full and equal partner of the United
States," Santos Silva said. Europe's interests include good relations with all
world regions, he added.