Should Europe rejoice over Biden’s victory? It’s no secret that transatlantic relations had been strained under President Trump, with the US and Europe chafing over everything from steel and aluminum tariffs, to NATO spending, to US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
In 2018, President Donald Trump said he believed that the “European Union was formed in order to take advantage of [America] on trade, and that’s what they’ve done”. Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and French President Emmanuel Macron have both been signalling their desire for Europe to chart a more independent course from its ally across the pond. Is it too late to patch things up?
Curious to know more about the state of transatlantic relations? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in last year (before the election) from Marleen: “I think [whether Europe can depend on the US] all depends if Trump is re-elected next year – if he is then no, Europe can absolutely not depend on the US anymore. If a Democratic candidate wins on the other hand I think transatlantic relations will flourish again.”
To get a response, we put Marleen’s comment to Daniel Fried, Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council and former US Ambassador to Poland. Ahead of the election, we asked him whether he agreed with Marleen that transatlantic relations would improve under Joe Biden. Is it as simple as that?
For another perspective, we also put the same comment to Luka Ignac, speaking on behalf of European Horizons, a global, student-led policy incubator founded at Yale University, whose mission is to “give young people a voice in shaping the future of Europe and of transatlantic relations”. What would he say?
Next up, we had a comment sent in from Michael, who says: “Of course [the Transatlantic relationship] is important, but quite frankly, we need a plan B. Since 1945 Europe’s only plan has been the US. The US is no longer reliable. It would be nice if they became reliable, but it is better to assume that they will continue to be unreliable and plan for that.”
Is he right? Has the US become an unreliable partner for Europe? How would Daniel Fried respond?
Finally, we put the same comment to Luka Ignac for his thoughts:
Will transatlantic relations improve under Joe Biden? Has the USA become an unreliable partner and should Europe become more independent? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!