Borrel: the EU must develop strategic autonomy from the USA, despite Biden’s victory

EU High Representative expressed his conviction that a Democrat would not view Europe as a rival.

The EU expects improved relations with the US after the presidential election victory, as predicted by the American media, Democrat Joseph Biden, but it does not have to hope that now America will “return to Europe” and everything will be like in the days before Donald Trump’s presidency. Joseph Borrel, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said this on Wednesday in an interview with leading European media, particularly the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

The head of European diplomacy warned that the EU should rely more on its own strength and develop “strategic autonomy”, abandoning the habit of relying on the US for everything.

“I am convinced that Biden will not see Europe as an opponent [as opposed to Trump]. We will see each other as friends, allies and partners again”, –  he said. – “But we have to be realistic, there have been major changes in American society, regardless of Trump’s personality, although she has played her part. These changes will remain after Trump.”


“The USA is now much more busy with its internal problems. In addition, Europe is no longer the main theatre for the USA to act externally, but its front line now runs through the Pacific Ocean [meaning the shift of US attention from the military confrontation with the USSR and Russia to the economic confrontation with China]. The European Union now has a completely different role to play [in American politics] than we were used to after World War II. This needs to be remembered and we need to develop our strategic autonomy. Let’s stop imagining that America will come back to Europe again”, –  said Borrel.

The head of European diplomacy explained that for the EU, strategic autonomy is not just about independent actions in the area of defence and security, it is about creating a new vision of Europe, a “new strategic culture”. In his view, the EU must be able to rely on its own strengths in the areas of technology, trade, monetary stability, migration control and many other areas. Borrel acknowledged that the EU does not yet have such independence, and without it, it will not be able to fulfil its geopolitical ambitions.

Immediately after the US elections, Simonas Vileikis, Brussels’ independent political and communications expert, commented to TASS why almost the entire EU was actively “rooting” for Biden in the elections. In his opinion, the Democrat is ideologically much closer to the European neoliberal vision of the modern world and the principles of interstate cooperation, including relations between the European Union and the USA.

At the same time, said Vileikis, the new US President will not hurry to restore an almost cloudless era of cooperation with the EU that lasted until 2016, when Trump became the head of state. During his presidency, Trump has strengthened the U.S. negotiating positions on topics such as relations with China, trade issues, NATO military budgets or WTO reform, and Biden will want to use this potential, the expert explained.


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