- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2021

President Biden and European Union leaders pledged Tuesday to rebuild their relationship, which was fractured over the past four years under former President Trump.

“America is back. We are committed — we have never fully left — but we are reasserting the fact that it is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States to have a great relationship with NATO in the EU,” Mr. Biden said ahead of the U.S.-EU summit in Brussels.

“I have a very different view than my predecessor,” he added.

Mr. Biden’s message of unity was welcomed by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“You are back in Brussels, and America is back on the global scene,” Mr. Michel said. “It’s great news.”

“The last four years have not been easy,” Ms. Von der Leyen said. “The world has dramatically changed, Europe has changed, we want to reassure you, your friends and allies.”

Under Mr. Trump, relations between the EU and U.S. had become strained.

Many European leaders bristled when Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement and the Iranian nuclear deal and imposed tariffs on goods from Europe.

In remarks to the European Union leaders, Mr. Biden warned against the “phony populism” that is spreading “great anxiety” in the U.S. and Europe.

He said the political instability was caused by economic and technological changes.

“It generates some folks, who are somewhat like charlatans trying to take advantage of those concerns,” Mr. Biden said. “We see that in Europe and the United States, we see that around the world — the phony populism. It seems to me the best answer to deal with these changes is to have circumstances where our economies grow and they grow together.”

Mr. Biden has repeatedly hammered the idea of “phony populism,” during his European trip. During a meeting Monday with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Mr. Biden cited it as one of the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The European summit did produce some agreements on trade, including resolving a long-running trade dispute over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.

European and U.S. leaders agreed to suspend tariffs for a period of five years. The U.S. has the right to reapply the tariffs if Europe doesn’t uphold its side of the deal.

The 17-year-old dispute stems from European Union complaints that Boeing received $19 million in unfair subsidies from the U.S. government. At the same time, the U.S. griped that European leaders were dolling out similar subsidies to Airbus.

Both sides also agreed to create a new technology council.

After the meeting, Mr. Biden boarded Air Force One and headed to Geneva where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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