The top leadership of European Union is miffed with US President Joe Biden for misleading France and keeping other European nations in the dark over its new alliance with the United Kingdom and Australia in the Indo-Pacific, Politico reported. Mincing no words, the EU’s top leaders brusquely panned Joe Biden for his disloyalty to the transatlantic alliance.
The remarkable admonition of the new US President does not augur well for the relationship between the United States and Europe, which has otherwise been longstanding and has survived vicissitudes of time.
EU Council President slams Joe Biden for continuous disregard of European allies
European Council President Charles Michel was displeased with America’s unilateral decisions of late and did not hold himself back in slamming the US president.
“With the new Joe Biden administration, America is back. What does it mean America is back? Is America back in America or somewhere else? We don’t know,” Michel told reporters in New York, as world leaders convened for the high-level debate of the U.N. General Assembly.
By not informing European Nations about the new strategic tie-up in the Indo-Pacific region, Michel averred, Biden had dishonoured the agreement reached by leaders after hours of deliberation at the G7 summit in Britain in June to remain united in pushing back authoritarian regimes, especially China.
“The most basic principles for an alliance are loyalty and transparency,” said Michel, adding, “We are observing a clear lack of transparency and loyalty.”
He further added that a discussion over the rift with the United States will be discussed among the 27 EU heads of state when they convene over dinner on October 5 in Slovenia, ahead of a summit focused on the Western Balkans.
Michel said the dispute between the two sides is not limited to French economic interests alone but to a greater pattern of callous indifference to interests of European allies by four US presidents, starting with George W. Bush.
“Obama with charisma, very polished, took important decisions in Syria with negative consequences for Europe, and we could observe also a lack of coordination, of consultation between the United States and European governments,” Michel said.
In Trump’s case, Michel said it was abundantly clear that he was not in favor of the European integration, that for him Europe did not matter.
European Commission President Ursula vo der Leyen seeks explanation from Joe Biden
Similarly, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also expressed her consternation at the treatment of France which she termed “unacceptable” and asked Biden to provide an explanation over it. France had last week accused Australia and the United States of lying over a ruptured Australian contract to buy French submarines, saying a grave crisis was under way between the allies.
“A great many number of questions still remain unanswered. One of our member states has been treated in a manner that is grossly unacceptable, so we would like to what happened and reasons behind it,” Leyen said while asking the United States to clarify before continuing with business as usual.
Leyen’s comments came a week before the planned first meeting of a new EU-US Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh, underscoring the palpable tensions between the two sides going into an event that was initially touted as a convention that would exhibit the renewed policy partnerships between Brussels and Washington.
US-Australia-UK forge a new alliance to counter China; France fumes over losing submarine contract
U.S. President Joe Biden revealed last week a new alliance, including Australia and Britain that would deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance was dubbed as AUKUS and pegged as a coalition to keep in check an authoritarian China.
However, the new alliance was forged at the expense of France, which lost a contract it had signed with Australia in 2016 for a dozen conventional diesel-electric submarines. The deal with French majority state-owned Naval Group was worth at least $66 billion and the work was currently underway.
France’s Foreign Minister had last week denounced the US-Australia deal as “duplicitous and disdainful”, declaring that a crisis is at hand among the Western allies. France has even recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia, making its fury known to its western allies. France has also pulled out of defence talks that were scheduled to take place this week in London.