Biden Looks to Ease EU Trade Tensions 06/15 06:10
President Joe Biden appeared to be on the cusp of ending a long-running
dispute with the European Union over airline subsidies, a major breakthrough in
the U.S-EU relationship could come on the eve of his highly anticipated meeting
with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- President Joe Biden appeared to be on the cusp of ending a
long-running dispute with the European Union over airline subsidies, a major
breakthrough in the U.S-EU relationship could come on the eve of his highly
anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After a pair of summits with Group of Seven world leaders in the U.K. and
then NATO allies in Brussels, Biden meets Tuesday with European Council
President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der
Leyen, where he was expected to discuss U.S.-EU relations and his meeting with
Early Tuesday, there were signs the two allies were moving to resolve a
17-year dispute over how much of a government subsidy each can provide for its
aircraft manufacturing giant -- Boeing in the United States and Airbus in the
"I'm very positive and convinced that together we will deliver today," von
der Leyen told reporters hours before the Biden meeting in Brussels.
A person familiar with the discussions said the U.S. and EU officials have
reached principles of an agreement on airlines subsidies. The person was not
authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Financial Times was first to report that the sides are ready to secure a
deal after two days of intensive negotiations and that it could be announced at
the EU-U.S. summit.
The president has sought to marshal widespread European support for his
efforts to counter Russia prior to his Wednesday meeting in Geneva with Putin.
But the U.S.-EU relationship is not without its own tensions. The continent's
leaders are becoming impatient that Biden has not yet addressed Donald Trump's
2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum.
Even without action on tariffs, White House officials expressed confidence
that they can build more goodwill with Europe ahead of the face-to-face meeting
The White House on Tuesday announced the creation of a joint U.S.-EU trade
and technology council. The trans-Atlantic council will work on coordinating
standards for artificial intelligence, quantum computing and bio-technologies,
as well as coordinating efforts on bolstering supply chain resilience. Biden is
appointing Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo
and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to co-chair the U.S. side of the
The White House said the two sides will also discuss efforts to stem climate
change and launch an expert group to determine how best to reopen travel safely
as the coronavirus pandemic ebbs.
Biden started his day by meeting with Belgian King Philippe and Belgian
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
The U.S.-EU summit is also expected to include a communique that will
address concerns about China's provocative behavior.
That statement would follow a NATO summit communique on Monday that declared
China a constant security challenge and said the Chinese are working to
undermine the global rules-based order. On Sunday, the G-7 called out what it
said were China's forced labor practices and other human rights violations
against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western Xinjiang
Since taking office in January, Biden has repeatedly pressed Putin to take
action to stop Russian-originated cyberattacks on companies and governments in
the U.S. and around the globe and decried the imprisonment of Russian
opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Biden also has publicly aired intelligence
that suggests -- albeit with low to moderate confidence -- that Moscow offered
bounties to the Taliban to target U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.
Both Biden and Putin have described the U.S.-Russia relationship as being at
an all-time low.
The Europeans are keen to set up a "high-level dialogue" on Russia with the
United States to counter what they say is Moscow's drift into authoritarianism
and anti-Western sentiment.
At the same time, the 27-nation bloc is deeply divided in its approach to
Moscow. Russia is the EU's biggest natural gas supplier, and plays a key role
in international conflicts and key issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and
conflicts in Syria and Libya.
The hope is that Biden's meeting with Putin might pay dividends, and no one
in Brussels wants to undermine the show of international unity that has been on
display at the G-7 and NATO summits, according to EU officials.
In addition to scolding China, NATO leaders in their communique on Monday
took a big swipe at Russia, deploring its aggressive military activities and
snap wargames near the borders of NATO countries as well as the repeated
violation of the 30-nations' airspace by Russian planes.
They said Russia has ramped up "hybrid" actions against NATO countries by
attempting to interfere in elections, political and economic intimidation,
disinformation campaigns and "malicious cyber activities."
"Until Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its
international obligations and responsibilities, there can be no return to
'business as usual,'" the NATO leaders wrote. "We will continue to respond to
the deteriorating security environment by enhancing our deterrence and defense