Biden's to-do list: what does the new president need to tackle?

The situation could certainly be easier for the newly inaugurated 46th US president: Joe Biden is taking over a politically destabilised and economically weakened nation that is in the grips of a pandemic. Europe's press sees Biden and his team facing a whole series of urgent challenges.

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Público (PT) /

Save democracy and become a role model again

In Público's view, the most important item on Biden's agenda is to restore the US's global credibility:

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inspiring fantastic expectations. From Asia to Europe. The new administration will soon announce changes, starting with symbolic ones. The most powerful image will be of the new president tossing all Trump's rubbish into the dustbin of history. ... But the biggest signal Joe Biden must send to the world must be a different one: he must prove that American democracy is alive. The United States remains an indispensable anchor in the international system. A fractured America with institutions and a political system that are corroding at an accelerated pace may be aggressive, but it will be incapable of providing leadership.”

Večernji list (HR) /

First get the pandemic under control

Covid-19 is the first challenge Biden must tackle since his predecessor largely ignored it, says Večernji list:

“Trump really did everything he could to distract the public from the pandemic and its consequences, but he failed. Biden, on the other hand, has been able to convince the majority of Americans that he is not indifferent and that he cares about his fellow citizens. ... He must show in a short time, within just a few months, that the world's main superpower and richest nation can deal with a health crisis of this magnitude. The pandemic is the first and most urgent crisis that the Biden administration must tackle to prove that America can be better than it was under the Trump administration.”

Respekt (CZ) /

Resuscitation on all levels

The new president Biden must now tend to many open wounds, writes Respect:

“Watching Biden take over is like watching a severely ill patient undergoing resuscitation. And the same applies to actual rescue work. In the last few days America has seen its coronavirus death toll surpass 400,000. In the first 100 days of Biden's presidency 100 million people are due to be vaccinated. There will be a battle over the recovery package in Congress, where the Democrats will secure a razor-thin majority in both chambers. ... Maintaining the conciliatory tone of Wednesday's administration will be the biggest challenge the new 46th US president faces. If the next inauguration takes place without the deployment of 25,000 members of the National Guard in Washington to ensure a smooth transfer of power, it will be a success.”

Kauppalehti (FI) /

Finally a reliable negotiating partner again

US economic policy won't change radically with Biden but it will become more predictable, Kauppalehti expects:

“Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs as well as the permanent threat of imposing tariffs on cars have made the EU cautious. Biden probably won't reverse all of Trump's decisions immediately because traditionally the Democrats are more protectionist than the Republicans. The restrictions on China in particular enjoy broad support in the US. ... But the EU and Finland can breathe a sigh of relief that predictable Biden is replacing the unpredictable Trump. Trade disputes won't necessarily disappear entirely, but Biden's belief in international cooperation is cause for optimism.”