President Biden is meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels as part of a US-EU summit Tuesday morning, where leaders will announce the formation of a joint council to better address China’s predatory economic practices — following a lukewarm communique on the ascendant communist power from the NATO alliance.
“America is back,” the US commander-in-chief repeated after arriving at the summit, “We have never fully left, but we are reasserting the fact it is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States to have a great relationship with NATO and with the EU.”
Without referencing former President Donald Trump by name, the 46th US president went on to note that he had “a very different view than my predecessor” on the two major alliances — highlighting his departure from an American-interest centered agenda in favor of one that ostensibly aligns American interest with global priorities.
Calling it “great news” to welcome the US back to previous foreign policy positions more focused on matters of global interest, European Council President Charles Michel replied, “You are back in Brussels and America is back on the global scene.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, meanwhile, lauded Biden for including the EU early on in his international travels before appearing to take a shot at his predecessor.
“The last four years have not been easy,” Von der Leyen told Biden of the Trump era, also declining to name him.
“The fact that you’re coming so early in your mandate underlines your personal touch to the EU and we really appreciate that,” she continued, thanking America for its support following the thinly-veiled jab.
“We want to reassure you we’re friends and allies, and we’re very much looking forward to working together.”
Speaking to reporters Monday, a senior Biden administration official previewed what to expect from the meetings, including the launch of the Trade and Technology Council, which would combat Chinese economic and technological aggression by coordinating on standards for new technologies from the West.
“China poses a significant challenge in both of these areas,” the Biden official said, “And dealing with China’s non-market practices, its economic abuses, and, of course, its efforts to shape the rules of the road on technology for the 21st century will be important — an important part of the work of this council.”
Also on the agenda are the topics of global health security and economic recovery, climate change and strengthening democracy.
Biden’s EU meeting comes on the heels of his highly-anticipated summit Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.
Much has been made about the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, especially given the tense state of US-Russia relations.
Moscow has continued to flex its military muscle in Ukraine and in the Black Sea in recent months — along with its warning to the US to back off, which caused Biden to turn two US warships around in April that were headed there.
Biden declared a national emergency that month, slapping sanctions on more than three dozen people in Russia and expelling 10 diplomats.
Putin subsequently closed off the Kerch Strait to foreign warships until next fall.
In addition to its military maneuvers, Biden has also said he intends to address Russia’s safe harboring of cyber criminals responsible for a string of recent ransomware attacks during the much anticipated meeting.
FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed this month that in the US alone, the FBI is investigating about 100 different types of ransomware.