EU says after Biden meeting: Let’s safeguard global security together

US President Joe Biden during the virtual EU summit on 25 March 2021. [Council Newsroom]

The European Union and the United States must together safeguard global security, democracy and stability, European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday (25 March) after chairing an EU summit that US President Joe Biden joined briefly.

Michel said the EU and US can promote democratic values by working together, as President Joe Biden joined a video summit Thursday with the bloc’s leaders.

“What we’re seeing is these values of democracy and the rule of law are under pressure again, there are threats, internal and external threats … and more than ever now the United States and the European Union have a responsibility for the generations to come,” Michel told a news conference after the summit.

“By standing together, shoulder-to-shoulder, the EU and US can show that democracies are best suited to protect citizens, promote dignity, and generate prosperity,” Michel wrote on Twitter.

“Since your election, we have talked a lot about you. Now we are happy to talk directly with you. America is back. And we are happy you are back”, Michel stated.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa called the joint meeting with Biden “an important symbolic moment”, welcoming the joint commitment to promote democratic values across the globe. Portugal holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU.

He said that “multilateralism is back” and that the “US is willing to seek alliances and resolve common challenges through multilateral tools and solutions”, mentioning the issue of climate change.

Another priority mentioned by Costa was the need to strengthen a “competitive transatlantic economic area”.

In a communiqué the White House stated that a strong EU is in the US interest.

“The President […] expressed his desire to work together on shared foreign policy interests, including China and Russia. In addition, he noted the need for continued US-EU engagement on Turkey, the South Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and the Western Balkans”, the communiqué reads.

Biden called in for his first joint talks with all of the EU’s 27 leaders as Washington looks to press home the message that it wants to rebuild ties frayed by tensions with his protectionist predecessor Donald Trump.

The US is hoping to forge a common front of democracies against the rising might of authoritarian powers led by China and is keen to enlist the EU.

EU leaders have welcomed Washington’s pledge to work together despite some arguing the bloc needs to become more independent after Trump’s isolationist policies and abrasive treatment rattled allies.

The two sides took a first step towards joint action against Beijing on Monday by unveiling synchronised sanctions over the crackdown on the Uighurs in China.

West hits China with coordinated sanction over Xinjiang abuses

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials on Monday (22 March) for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the first such coordinated Western action against Beijing under new US President Joe Biden.

They also agreed earlier this week to suspend tit-for-tat tariffs imposed during Trump’s time over a trade dispute involving Boeing and Airbus.

The EU is keen to work with Biden on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and fighting climate change after he rejoined the 2016 Paris accord.

Trump did not hold talks with all EU leaders together, but both previous presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush met with the entire bloc.

A physical visit of the US President to Europe is expected to take place in summer.

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