Is Obama naive about Trump

US election: EU hopes Joe Biden to become new president

If Joe Biden prevails in the US presidential election, says Janis Emmanouilidis, there will be hope for transatlantic relations: "Nobody is so naive as to think that there will be a return before Trump. But there is hope that it will Things would get better, "says the director of the Brussels think tank European Policy Center.

If the Democratic candidate does not succeed in replacing President Donald Trump in the White House, EU expert Emmanouilidis fears that relations between the US and the European Union could get even worse: "It is likely that he will be in a second Term would put even more pressure on Europe than in the first. He has identified Europe as a greater evil than other actors in the world. He has said that publicly - and has said a lot over the past four years. "

As Vice President Joe Biden was on the road in Europe. Here in Brussels in 2015 with EU Council President Donald Tusk

Looking for cooperation - with whom

The MEP and foreign policy expert Reinhard Bütikofer from Bündnis90 / Die Grünen thinks little of Donald Trump's statements on geopolitics. "When Trump says the EU is an opponent, that doesn't exactly help Washington appear positive in the European debate." Nevertheless, he believes that there are still many politicians in the government and in Congress - even among Republicans - who know that they need cooperation with Europe in order to deal with China, Russia and others.

A President Joe Biden would probably not do everything differently, says Bütikofer, but one can assume that he would rather rely on traditional allies, listen and look for common ground: "No matter who wins in November, we should invest in cooperation. We have some leeway on some issues, such as the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). We can still sing the same tune. "

Trump (right) views international cooperation with skepticism: G7 summit in Canada 2018

Lost transatlantic trust

In a study by the "European Council on Foreign Relations" in Brussels in the summer, it is said that the Europeans have lost confidence in their once so close ally, the USA. In particular, President Trump's "chaotic" management of the corona pandemic would have contributed to the gloomy mood.

The researchers of the European Council assume that an election winner Joe Biden would approach the Europeans again. They expect the US to rejoin the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization. A Biden government would strengthen NATO as an alliance again, even if Democrats and Republicans alike pushed for an increase in European defense budgets.

President Barack Obama and many of his predecessors have already called for higher military spending. If Trump is elected for a second term, predicts his former disgraced security advisor John Bolton, NATO will have to dress warmly. According to Bolten, Trump has even threatened to leave NATO, which could mean its end.

Biden also has demands

French President Emmanuel Macron then declared NATO "brain dead" and formulated demands for more "European sovereignty". Other heads of government in the EU also see, in different shades, a greater geostrategic role for the EU, also in contrast to the USA under Donald Trump. Above all, the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wants a return to a rule-based order: "The truth is that it is more urgent than ever to reform the multilateral system. Our global system is suffering from a creeping paralysis. " Big powers are either withdrawing from international institutions, says Von der Leyen, "or they are taking them hostage for their own interests".

The hope in Brussels is that with a President Joe Biden this could be more successful. Janis Emmanouilidis from the European Policy Center warns against illusions. Even a democratic president would not particularly like the gentle attitude with which Europe has treated China so far. "One challenge could be that a new Biden government would cooperate in the World Trade Organization on multinational issues, on climate protection, but demands that Europe act harder on China in return." Even with Biden at the helm, the US could demand sanctions against, for example, the technology group Huawei, without ifs and buts, and to respond to military provocations in the South China Sea.

The key issue of trade unites the EU

After the elections, the Europeans, with whomever US president, want to talk urgently about trade relations. Trump's threat to impose massive tariffs on cars and other goods is still hanging over the Atlantic. Although he had agreed on a kind of ceasefire with the then EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in July 2018, the conflict itself has not been resolved. At that time, Donald Trump surprisingly praised the EU as the USA's largest trading partner.

In the election campaign, however, the topic played a role neither with Trump nor with Biden. The new EU Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrowskis, is diplomatic: "In these times one should cultivate friendships and cling to allies who are really important. There are some ongoing conflicts between the EU and the US. In my opinion we should quickly. "

The gesture from 2019 at the G7 summit in Biarritz is deceptive: Political love does not connect Trump and Merkel

With a more liberal-thinking and less combative formulating Joe Biden as President, most European heads of government would probably get along better personally. The chemistry between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump was not right at all, says EU expert Emmanouilidis. Poland and other Eastern European countries, especially those with populist governments, got on better with Donald Trump.

In the end, the EU will probably stand together to represent its interests vis-à-vis the US, regardless of which man sits in the Oval Office, says Emmanouilidis. "When it comes to the real key issues, the 27 EU states still stand together to this day, even if there have been some who have tried to maintain a more beneficial relationship with the Trump administration."