Cracks in Trump-Europe relationship turn into abyss

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he's working with the European Union as it considers banning American travelers due to coronavirus
Earlier this week, the European Union refused to include the U.S. on the “safe countries” list, meaning American travelers will not be welcomed in the block for the foreseeable future due to the striking numbers of U.S. coronavirus infections. Controversially, the list includes China – the country where the virus originated – provided that the reciprocal arrangements were made.
EU officials insist that the decision is not political and is entirely based on epidemiological evidence, hopefully soothes US President Donald Trump, who attacked the bloc several times.

However, others specifically admitted that Brussels wanted to make the pill more delicious for an American audience, they could add a sugar coating. “In the past, I can see that we may not include China to make the USA happy,” says an EU diplomat who is not authorized to record how the decision was made.

It may seem difficult to accept this event as evidence of a break in transatlantic relations until you place it in the existing geopolitical context. It’s no secret Washington has less interest in European affairs nowadays. And it is known that European nations are actively seeking more diplomatic autonomy than America. This is especially true for the 27 member states of the European Union.

One of the ways Brussels thinks it can drive itself away from DC is to engage as a strategic and economic partner with China, by reducing its dependence on one of the world’s superpowers by balancing its relationship with the other.

For the past few years, Brussels has stuck to its weapons on tremendous international issues, as Trump has smashed everything. Paris Climate Agreement, Iran Nuclear Agreement, 5Gand you are starting to see a behavioral model that the EU can perceive is located on China’s oldest ally. Of course, given the deep, established bond between Europe and the US, there may be a miserly reading of the situation, but in this context, any perceived friendship against Beijing punches a very real bruise.

“I think we will keep them away from another world, knowing what we know about China’s data, how pandemic and the White House behave during the stance,” he said. Says. The other world he’s talking about isn’t the world before Trump took office.

A Brussels official, working on EU foreign policy but not entitled to speak in the records, said that as a geopolitical priority, departure from Europe began under former US president Barack Obama.

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“Obama had no interest in the Middle East as much as the previous presidents with geographically more European problems. And he was shifting his priorities from Europe to China and Asia,” he said. Said.

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However, the long-standing observers of the alliance admit that they have been strained for the past four years, and it will get worse if Donald Trump defeats ex-vice-president Joe Biden in this year’s US elections. “Trump sees the EU, especially Germany, as an economic and commercial competitor, which means that tensions can be expected in the second term,” says Velina Tchakarova of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy.

He said that when the EU takes steps to “build stronger autonomy in the area of ​​security and defense”, Trump is trying to undermine such efforts “through economic and commercial measures as well as attacks on European NATO members.”

The Brussels official announced that Trump’s “breaking out of multilateralism” on major international issues such as Iran, coupled with the US “taking less responsibility for European security”, accelerated the European thought to move one step away from America and “do our own business in our own world”. “

This characterization of the hostile US administration, which is on its way to avoid working with Europeans, is a qualification recognized by the EU diplomat. “The problem is that the officials who want to work with Europe at DC don’t have the government’s serious authority to keep in touch. They’re hanged as much as possible, but if we take a second, the Trump term is really in trouble then.”

President Trump criticized the block several times.

“It hopes that member states’ EU institutions and leaders Joe Biden will be elected in November … the prospect of multilateralism and strengthening ties between the US and Europe,” according to Tchakarova.

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CNN approached many officials from EU institutions and diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic for comment. Most declined to comment; many agreed that they believed this was the case. A European diplomat said: “We will dance whoever is on the dance floor, but not even seeing that the EU-US cooperation is currently underperforming.”

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the EU should comment on a potential pivot and its historical ties between the US: “The US and the EU share a strong and lasting partnership based on common democratic values ​​and governance, respect for human rights, and the rule of law, deep economic ties and Transatlantic a commitment to prosperity and security. This long-standing partnership is vital as we coordinate a number of international efforts. “

However, a potential Biden victory will not bring a quick solution to the transatlantic partnership. The EU diplomat said, “This is the problem if we can persuade the US to rejoin the Western order, not whether you can bring the relationship back to where it really is.” Says.

“The US and EU geopolitical pivots started on Asia, the Middle East, and trade respectively. The current difference is that we think the West should be a pivot.”

And even if Biden returns to his European policy of Obama, there is no guarantee that he will not be replaced by someone more radical than Trump in four years. “The main changes going on in the US will probably remain and we have to do the best of the relationship we can adjust. These changes are structural and not based on just one person,” the Brussels official said.

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Of course, none of this means that the transatlantic alliance will lose importance. It will remain at the heart of what the West represents, and the US will always be a more important ally for Europe than China can be. In addition, the EU’s major plans to establish greater ties with China have been dealt a major blow by the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, the pale warmth coating – Europe is looking for a new place on the world stage as the global role of the United States becomes more unpredictable by nature – this can be seen as good news for those who have come together for a very long time against Western powers. prior to.

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