One year of Biden: stasis instead of a new start?

One year after taking office, US President Joe Biden is facing serious problems: on the home front he has failed to push through social and environmental reforms, while in foreign policy the US's inglorious withdrawal from Afghanistan remains fresh in people's minds. And now the acute threat of an invasion of Ukraine must be dealt with. Taking stock, the European press is highly critical.

Open/close all quotes
La Repubblica (IT) /

A failed economic agenda

La Repubblica lists the main problems Biden faces:

“Biden's problems started with Afghanistan but have been exacerbated by the ongoing Covid epidemic, supply chain bottlenecks, soaring inflation and Putin's provocations in Ukraine. ... But the main problem is his failure to get the 1.75 trillion dollar Build Back Better package through Congress, which was supposed to reform society and eliminate inequality, as well as take the wind out of the sails of the populism and sovereignism which gave Trump his victory in 2016. Even some Democrats say Biden must reach a compromise with the conservatives and liberals in his own party to achieve legislative success. ... Yesterday's conference was a first attempt, but action must now follow.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Softie Biden bad for US's credibility

Biden's first year in office has been an embarrassment, especially in terms of foreign policy, says the Daily Telegraph:

“As for America's enemies, they see Biden as a soft touch, whose time in office is a welcome opportunity to challenge America's might and undercut the country's strategic power. It is no coincidence that, with the former senator from Delaware in the White House, Russian forces are massing on the border of Ukraine, China is openly threatening to invade Taiwan, and Iran is rapidly building up its nuclear programme. ... Under Donald Trump, the adversaries of the US were far more careful not to pick a major fight with a president who was often unpredictable, and clearly ready to wield American military capabilities.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

Time to get moving

Biden needs to get moving and show some gumption, The Irish Independent urges:

“Few presidents have ever had to face such a formidable to-do list. He inherited a divided nation, a disunited party and pandemic that had the country in turmoil. The fact that he has only faced the media six times on his own since entering office tells its own story. ... Mr Biden came to office with a mandate to be a Mr Fix-it. America needed a healer as well as a political handyman capable of filling in the deep crevices. ... But progress has been too slow and people are running out of patience. Many a political leader has left it too late to realise that looking back and wondering if it could have worked eventually is so much more painful than trying and failing.”

Politiken (DK) /

Democrats responsible for the crisis

The US President doesn't have much more time to prove himself, Politiken remarks:

“The US president is in crisis. And with the prospect of defeat in the upcoming midterm elections, he and the Democrats actually have only one year to get back on track. It's not only Joe Biden who bears the blame for this, but to a large extent the Democrats who are working against him in Congress. They need to realise that they are paving the way for Donald Trump to make a comeback. And neither the United States nor the world can afford that.”

L'Echo (BE) /

Brussels must be less dependent

The EU urgently needs more autonomy, L'Echo urges:

“The days of the benevolent American godfather are definitely over. More than ever, Europeans must focus on their strategic autonomy. This is precisely what Emmanuel Macron's speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday was about. The French president is right a thousand times over. Whether in terms of shaping its border policy, responding to external threats (from Russia, China, Islamists ...), defending its values, securing its economic development or managing climate change, Europe can only be strong if it is united and sovereign. Not in opposition to the US, but without depending on its goodwill.”