What are Biden's objectives in Europe?

Joe Biden arrived at the American airbase in Mildenhall, England, yesterday, the first stop on his week-long Europe tour. The G7 summit in Cornwall, the Nato summit on Monday, and meetings with Johnson, Erdoğan and Putin are other main events on the schedule. Europe's press takes a look at Biden's agenda for his first foreign trip as president.

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Fakti.bg (BG) /

Wanted: a common stance on Russia

Biden has plenty to discuss with the Europeans on the subject of Moscow before he heads to Geneva, says fakti.bg:

“Russia will be the main topic of discussion at the G7 summit and in the following days, when Biden talks with European leaders and Nato allies before heading to Geneva for his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. ... The recent ransomware attacks against the world's largest meat company, JBS, which likely came from Russia, Russia's financial support for Belarus and the Ryanair hijacking are forcing US authorities to take action.”

Lost in EUrope (DE) /

EU only playing a supporting role

Brussels should not place too much hope in Biden, writes Eric Bonse on his blog Lost in EUrope:

“Despite all the symbolism, Europe is no longer a priority for the US. Not even the permanent crisis between Russia and Ukraine has changed that. The main focus has long since switched to China. For the Americans, the Middle Kingdom is not only a 'partner, competitor and systemic rival', as they say in Brussels. It is the new adversary that must be contained, and perhaps even more than that. In this world view the EU only plays second fiddle. It is supposed to watch the Americans' backs and, where necessary, tidy up the mess.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

"America first" lives on

Even if he has rejoined the Paris climate agreement and lifted Trump's sanctions on EU states, Biden's top priority is his own country, L'Opinion stresses:

“Otherwise, it's still 'America first'. When it comes to vaccines, the world is waiting for Washington to start exporting its doses. Which didn't stop Joe Biden from releasing the vaccines' patents without any consultation. The same happened with the announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, despite the fact that other Nato countries are involved in the mission. In this sense, the new US president's European tour is significant. He must not only restore the trust destroyed by Donald Trump, but also bring his actions in line with his words.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

US-Turkish relations: it's still complicated

Although Erdoğan is doing everything he can to improve relations with Biden, things are not looking good for the planned meeting between the two leaders, Hürriyet believes:

“It's hard to claim that progress has been made on the problems that have been on the table in the preparatory meetings over the past weeks and months. ... The first topic on the agenda is Turkey's withdrawal from the S-400 air defence systems it bought from Russia [which the US is calling for]. In this context, the question of Turkey's strategic orientation is an important factor from the point of view of Biden's team. In addition, problems in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey are a major issue. So the June 14 meeting in Brussels will be caught between the current 'tensions' and expectations that this will mark the start of a 'new era'.”

Polityka (PL) /

Disarmament must not come at the expense of security

More than 60 prominent politicians and public figures issued an appeal to Biden and Putin on 7 June calling for further disarmament and the normalisation of Russia-US relations. Polityka hopes the US president will nevertheless insist on strengthening Eastern Europe's missile defence systems:

“Biden is under pressure to finally show the resolve towards Russia of which he has spoken so much and of which little has been seen so far. Abandoning missile defence at the expense of an agreement whose permanence no one can guarantee could mean exposure to a Russian checkmate.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Bringing the French and Germans to heel

Joe Biden will demand more determination from the European allies in their dealings with Beijing, political scientist Lucio Caracciolo predicts in La Stampa:

“Biden will make it clear to them that there is no room between China and the United States. ... The American sherpas have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to convince the French and Germans to adopt the US definition of China as an 'adversary'. In practice this means that the major European powers could continue to do as much trade with China as possible, but with certain restrictions in the crucial area of technologies. ... The climate has changed compared to how it was a few months ago. Back then the countries of the European Union were ready to negotiate a privileged economic relationship with China, but that agreement is now on ice.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

The world does not revolve around Ukraine

Biden spoke to Ukraine's President Zelensky on the phone, but refused to see him before his meeting with Putin. Prior to the phone call Zelensky had openly criticised the US for waivering sanctions over Nord Stream 2. Radio Kommersant FM says Kiev is overestimating its clout:

“Life is very different from the simplified and idealised notion entertained by certain members of the Ukrainian political elite that the world revolves around their country and that protecting Ukrainian interests is a top priority for the Germans, French and Americans. ... For the US, relations with Ukraine are now a derivative of relations with Russia. The politicians in Kiev must come to terms with this. They can continue with their current diplomatic mindset, reminiscent of a spoilt, insulted child who thinks everyone owes him a favour. Or they can come to terms with reality.”

La Stampa (IT) /

No longer taboo

La Stampa sees a notable paradigm shift emerging in Washington's stance:

“There will also be an elephant in the room at the Nato summit on Monday in Brussels - one that not everyone wants to see, but which the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank with close ties to the US administration, has now turned its attention to: giving the green light for EU common defence strategies. ... The think thank published a report on 1 June entitled 'The Case for EU Defense'. According to the authors: 'US opposition to EU defense efforts since the 1990s has been a strategic mistake that has undermined both the EU and Nato. It's time for a new US approach that encourages ambitious EU defense strategies'.”

Gazete Duvar (TR) /

Erdoğan's policies have been decoded

The Turkish president will do his utmost to be on good terms with Biden, believes Gazete Duvar:

“An arrogant government that just a few years ago claimed to rule the region is now looking for a thousand different ways and negotiating with the aim of becoming a 'useful ally' for the US. ... Turkey in general has entered the most fragile phase in its history. And the Turkish economy currently depends on the US's stance towards it. ... But it is obvious that the Biden administration does not want to work with Erdoğan. ... Erdoğan is no longer an indispensable leader for the West, and especially not for the US. He is seen as an unreliable leader whose political modus operandi has been thoroughly decoded. His greatest trump card, well known to his negotiating partners, is that he backs down and becomes willing to compromise as soon as he gets into an impasse.”

Adevărul (RO) /

Armed with evidence against Putin

The Biden-Putin meeting will take place against the backdrop of explosive information that has come into the US's possession, analyst Iulian Chifu writes in Adevărul:

“This is about financial documents that prove the corruption of the Russian regime. And it's about Putin's wealth, the billionaire son-in-law he got overnight, offshore investments and the Black Sea palace worth over a billion. ... Add to this hard-hitting political revelations such as evidence of the Kremlin's involvement in the 'terrorist' bombings of apartment blocks in 1999, which Putin was behind and which resulted in the deaths of 300 innocent Russian citizens - a fact that could make Putin a pariah. ... How all that information will be used remains to be seen. But it is becoming clear that this summit will be difficult and unpleasant.”