Biden's visit: Europe takes stock

The meeting with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva was US President Joe Biden's last stop on his European tour - a veritable marathon that included EU, G7 and NATO summits as well as various bilateral meetings. Now that the Trump era has ended the US clearly seems to be seeking stronger cooperation with Europe once more, especially vis-à-vis China. Europe's press discusses where such aspirations will lead.

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Público (PT) /

Two excellent pieces of news

Público is full of praise for Biden:

“The United States has stopped seeing the European Union as a rival bloc and Nato as an alliance doomed to fail because of mistrust and competition. At the same time the United States is enhancing its image by focusing on containing and combating the authoritarian currents that are gaining momentum around the world under the inspiration of China and Russia. It may not seem like much, but the return of the United States to normality and the predictability of its role, as during the Cold War, is excellent news for democracies and especially for the European bloc.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

No sign of a transatlantic reboot

Beyond well-meaning rhetoric Biden's visit hasn't left many traces, Handelsblatt counters:

“The justified relief that there is once again someone in the White House with whom one can talk and who is open to rational arguments can't hide the fact that much more is needed for there to be a true revival of the transatlantic partnership. For example, a credible initiative for a transatlantic free trade agreement. What, if not that, could send a stronger signal to autocratic regimes like Russia or China? But that won't happen in the foreseeable future. The unabashed protectionism of Biden, but also of the European partners, especially with regard to agriculture, remains the big obstacle.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Image restored

The US president's trip primarily served to erase the four Trump years from Europe's memory, Corriere della Sera explains:

“Now that even the most difficult meeting, namely the one with Vladimir Putin, is done and dusted, we can say that the American president has achieved his goal. It wasn't easy. ... Biden has revived the transatlantic bond; he has achieved a course correction for Nato by adding the 'challenge' of China to the list of risks; he has reopened the dialogue with Erdoğan and, above all, he has set in motion a 'pragmatic' confrontation with Putin. In a sense, it's as if Biden had repaired and polished the bodywork of US foreign policy, which got a good few dents during the Trump era. But from now on, Washington will have to be judged on its merits.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Biden finds the EU uninteresting

Le Figaro sees the US president's behaviour as an indication that the EU is looking weak at the moment:

“Joe Biden is showing Europe that for him it doesn't count. By meeting with Boris Johnson and the Turkish and Russian presidents (two authoritarian, populist and nationalist leaders), he is making it clear that he only respects countries that want to continue to exist as nations rather than dissolving into a great supranational acid bath, playing the card of strength and defending their interests. A divided, technocratic European Union that lacks any soul or history, ignores power and believes only in the law and the market is of little interest to Joe Biden.”