The dance of reconciliation continues. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met today at the White House with Joe Biden, in another demonstration that the bilateral relationship is regaining its good tone after the strained years of Donald Trump.
According to Von der Leyen’s account, both have spoken about trade relations between the European Union and the United States, the need to move forward with vaccination (“we must be vigilant so that this does not become a pandemic of the unvaccinated”) , as well as the situation in Ukraine (“we fully support its territorial integrity”). They have also dealt with the hottest topic for the EU at the moment: the crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland, a member of the Union, after Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko pushed a wave of immigrants to knock on their neighbor’s doors. , generating unprecedented tension that has led to an announcement of sanctions against Minsk. “It is not a migratory crisis, but an attempt to destabilize Belarus,” Von der Leyen declared in statements to the press at the end of the meeting.
His visit to Washington is another reenactment of the recovered tune in the transatlantic dialogue. The appointment comes after the meetings held during the G-20 summit, which took place in Rome on October 30 and 31, and last week at the climate conference in Glasgow, which is still underway. In the Scottish city, Biden and Von der Leyen supported the alliance to reduce methane emissions by 30% this decade.
In Rome, both presented an agreement to deactivate the tariff war that affects steel and aluminum, declared by Trump in 2018. It was the end of a months-long negotiation that seeks to strengthen a trade front to curb exports from China, which present the half of the market and are highly polluting. Earlier, in June, the EU and the US had buried the ax in the dispute between the giants of the aeronautical sector Boeing and Airbus.
The meeting this Wednesday took place in the Oval Office between 10:00 and 11:15 (Washington local time), and, according to Von der Leyen, it has been “very productive.” Regarding the crisis between Poland and Belarus, the president of the European Commission has promised “to toughen the sanctions at the beginning of next week to entities and individuals”, and has explained that she has agreed with Biden the possibility of “pursuing the airlines that contribute to human trafficking ”in Belarus. Von der Leyen has assured that both share the analysis that it is a “hybrid attack by an authoritarian regime to try to destabilize its democratic neighbors.” “We have to protect our democracies from this kind of cynical geopolitical power game,” he added.
The president of the United States has left the Oval Office after 11:40, but has not made any statements to the press. He was planning to attend the funeral of Ruth Ann Minner, the former governor of Delaware, his home state.
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Today’s was the latest in a series of signs of transatlantic reconciliation, also in defense matters, thanks to the deactivation of the so-called “submarine crisis” after the creation of the so-called Aukus, a military partnership between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom to counter China’s strength in the Indian-Pacific region. As part of that pact, Australia renounced without prior notice a million-dollar commercial contract with France to throw itself into the arms of Washington and London, triggering a diplomatic crisis in September.
The recent visit of Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the United States, served to show that both parties considered “the disagreements over.” In Rome, Biden admitted to French President Emmanuel Macron the “clumsiness” of the United States in managing that episode.
The crisis between Belarus and Poland broke out on Monday, when Warsaw warned of the massive arrival of immigrants to its border. Countries bordering Belarus and the European Union accuse the Minsk regime of orchestrating human trafficking in response to sanctions imposed by Brussels. Von der Leyen then demanded that Lukashenko “stop putting people’s lives in danger.” “The instrumentalization of migrants by Belarus is unacceptable,” he added. It is estimated that there are about two thousand immigrants trapped at the gates of Poland.
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