European leaders have warmly congratulated Democrat Joe Biden following his projected election win, a victory that comes after four years of fractious relations with President Donald Trump.
The transatlantic relationship deteriorated significantly after Trump’s arrival at the White House in 2017, with disagreements over international trade, defense and technology. European officials have also struggled with Trump’s direct style and his use of Twitter, which he often used as a means to communicate policy.
However, they are hoping the relationship will improve following Biden’s win, according to NBC projections. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, spoke about a “renewed” partnership between the U.S. and Europe when congratulating President-elect Biden for the result over the weekend.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Giuseppe Conte were among the many heads of state congratulating Biden on the result.
Trade has been one of the most contentious issues for the U.S. and Europe over the last four years. At the start of his presidency, Trump ended talks over a U.S.-EU trade deal, imposed higher tariffs on imported European steel and aluminum products, and threatened to do the same on European car imports.
They have also clashed over subsidies in a long-standing dispute involving aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus. The European Union is reportedly looking at imposing tariffs worth $4 billion on U.S. goods after the World Trade Organization agreed that the U.S. granted illegal aid to Boeing.
Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. changed its position on international trade, favoring bilateral agreements and using the imposition of import tariffs to put pressure on trading partners and to promote an “America First” agenda.
The European Union has seen increased support for anti-establishment parties in the wake of the debt and migration crises that have affected the region in recent years, and Trump was an inspiration for many of these politicians.
However, as Trump fails to get a second term in office, anti-establishment politicians in Europe “will miss a lot; I’d say, the megaphone, the echo, the strong engine and the strong vocal positions” that characterized the president, Enrico Letta, former prime minister of Italy, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe on Monday.
The EU is still embroiled in negotiations with the United Kingdom over their future relationship, starting in 2021, after the transition period following the U.K.’s departure from the bloc ends.
They have only a few weeks left to agree on their new trade arrangements, and it is unclear whether they will overcome their outstanding differences in this time. Failure to reach a deal would increase costs for exporters on both sides and potentially put at risk the Good Friday Agreement, a peace accord between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Biden’s outright support for the Good Friday Agreement was a welcome development for European officials and is likely to put pressure on the U.K. government to strike a deal with the EU.
Europe welcomes Biden’s win after four fractious years of Trump, CNBC, Nov 10
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