Biden pushes new approach to EU ties

US President-elect Joe Biden spoke with the heads of the European Union institutions and Nato on Monday in a round of calls seen as part of his efforts to repair tattered transatlantic ties. 

Biden “underscored his commitment to deepen and revitalize the US-EU relationship,” a statement from his office said after a call with Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission.

In a marked difference in tone from US President Donald Trump, who branded the EU a “foe” and accused it of ripping off the US in trade, Biden expressed his hope that the two sides would “cooperate on common challenges.”

Von der Leyen sounded upbeat and optimistic.

“Great to speak with President-elect JoeBiden,” von der Leyen tweeted. “It is a new beginning for the EU-US global partnership … working together can shape the global agenda based on cooperation, multilateralism, solidarity and shared values,” she added.

Biden has already spoken to a host of European leaders bilaterally, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Both Biden, and his nominated secretary of state, Antony Blinken, have both criticised Brexit, a key concern of EU, and have expressed concern about the impact on peace on the divided island of Ireland.

Biden also spoke to the head of the transatlantic Nato defence alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, telling him of the “United States’ enduring commitment to Nato – including its bedrock principle of collective defence under Article 5.” Article 5 is a mutual defence clause which holds that an attack on one Nato member is an attack on the whole alliance .

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