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European officials are quietly preparing for a possible Biden defeat


US President Joe Biden (R) meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (L) at the White House. Both want to achieve as much as possible before the primary election.

Alex Wong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BRUSSELS – There is more than a year before US voters go to the polls, but in the heart of the European Union, officials are already racing to do the best they can before any potential changes. -or to lead the White House.

“There is unprecedented close cooperation and coordination between the EU and the current US administration. This is from the official level to the highest level,” an EU official, who preferred to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the situation, told CNBC.

“The EU knows this [cooperation] is not given and such method can be changed if one wants [former President Donald] Trump in the White House again. And the EU is trying to use this momentum to move forward [a] number of files, topics where there are shared interests,” the official added.

The EU, a group of 27 countries, is obvious happy with the election of Joe Biden in late 2020 after four challenging years under Trump’s presidency, during which transatlantic relations have deteriorated. The two sides have different views on trade, defense and technology – just to name a few points of tension.

But there was a significant improvement in relations once Biden arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His style and policy priorities are more in line with Brussels, including how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and climate change. This became even more evident in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with European leaders welcoming financial and military support from the world’s largest economy.

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“The United States and the European Union have a strong and united stance against Russia’s illegal, unjustified, and unjustified war against Ukraine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in March. with Biden in Washington, DC

“Putin thought he was going to divide us, and yet we are more united than ever. We stand together in our unwavering support for Ukraine as long as necessary,” he added.

But it is possible that the current agreement, and working practices, will all end when there is a new president in the White House.

“It’s a difficult relationship,” Kevin Klowden, chief global strategist at the Milken Institute, told CNBC over the phone in the scenario of a Republican candidate taking over the presidency.

“There is concern for Europeans that the US will withdraw support [for Ukraine]”he said, adding that it is both military and financial aid.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

The transatlantic partnership remains essential for the EU.

Speaking to CNN earlier this month, Trump did not answer a question about whether he wanted Russia or Ukraine to win the war, and did not commit to any support for Kyiv if he won the presidency again. He, however, claimed that the conflict would end within 24 hours if he returns to office.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch his bid for the 2024 presidential campaign later this month, said he believes the US should not be involved in the war in Ukraine.

“The transatlantic partnership remains important for the EU,” a European diplomat told CNBC, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

However, the same source said the relationship could look different in the future as Europe looks less confident in other parts of the world – including China and the US

“The EU is developing its own path towards strategic autonomy, which does not mean that we are turning our backs on our allies. diplomat, adding that this will continue regardless of who is in charge of the White House.

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There is an awareness in Europe that whoever is the next American president will naturally have the interests of the US in mind, which often do not agree with what Europe wants. The proof of that is when the Biden administration, despite a close relationship, introduced unprecedented green subsidies that threaten the European economy. The US Inflation Reduction Act, commonly abbreviated to IRA, left Europe was blinded and search for concessions.

Meanwhile, EU-wide elections are in June 2024 and Brussels officials have apparently said they have until the end of this year to complete policy actions. Officials believe they won’t be able to pass the new law from January until lawmakers focus on their election campaign.

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