The Heads of State or Government of the European Union will have a special guest to attend the meeting of the European Council: the President of the United States of America Joe Biden, who will call the videoconference of the 27 Loud Voice to confirm the interest and commitment Your government to rebuild and “revive” the transatlantic relationship and to “deepen” the cooperation between the two blocs in order to respond to the current challenges – starting with the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The White House responded positively to the invitation from the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who “took advantage” of a precedent set in April 2009 when Barack Obama attended the work of the European Summit to anticipate the first official contact between the leaders this Thursday the EU and the American President, who was scheduled for June. “It was an excellent idea,” commented a European diplomatic source, who stressed the importance of the “political signal” that Brussels and Washington are giving with this initiative.
Given the informal format of the meeting, it is a “brief” contact. Charles Michel is expected to connect to the White House at 8:45 p.m. (Brussels time) and, after a brief introduction, give the floor to the President of the United States. At the end of Joe Biden’s speech, the microphone of the Prime Minister, António Costa, is set on fire. From Lisbon, he will speak on behalf of the 27 in his capacity as President of the EU Council. The minutes do not provide for a round at the table, and for reasons of time, no interventions from other managers are to be expected.
Biden will not listen to the discussions of the 27 or the issues related to the pandemic that are on the agenda, nor the foreign policy issues that are also on the agenda of the European Council: an information point on Russia following Charles Michel’s call with President Vladimir Putin this Monday; and also an assessment of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the state of the efforts of Brussels and Ankara to normalize relations with Turkey.
Alongside China, Russia and Turkey are international actors whose actions “worry” transatlantic allies. As the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pointed out that the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken received this Wednesday in Brussels as part of the NATO ministerial meeting, the EU and the US “share” “some concerns” on this matter Moscow or Beijing guidelines and need to “work together” to get better results.
But, as Von der Leyen recalled, the immediate priority for both Europeans and North Americans is “to attack the coronavirus pandemic and manage its consequences for people and the economy”. EU leaders will not miss the opportunity to alert Joe Biden to the need to “strengthen global vaccine supply chains” – and to raise awareness of the difficulties Europe is currently facing in developing its vaccine campaign is faced.
Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order on the basis of a national defense law to preserve all doses of vaccine against Covid-19 made in the country. When he took over the presidency, Joe Biden did not reverse this order, which in practice blocks US exports and prompts neighbors Canada and Mexico to supply vaccines to Europe. If American production could be sold to some of these markets, the EU would have a bigger margin on the vaccines it makes.