Seven years after the last Summit held in the presence of a U.S. president, the EU heads of states or governments welcomed President Joe Biden in Brussels on June 15th. The agenda included a long list of issues that have often put at odds the two transatlantic partners throughout the Trump administration.
The commitments announced span from ending the COVID-19 pandemic, to strengthening trade, investment and technological cooperation, to fostering green growth, as well as preserving democracy, peace and security. The two side should new achieve other milestones through an intensified dialogue in the framework of a host of new high-level partnerships and working groups.
Ending the Covid-19 pandemic remains the n° 1 priority, with joint measures foreseen to increase funding for vaccines in countries in need and to reform the World Health Organisation (WHO). A Joint EU–US COVID Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce has been established to work on expanding vaccine and therapeutics production capacity. The principle is to rely on voluntary sharing of know-how and technology.
The two sides reached a halfway agreement in their tense trade relationships by suspending for five years the reciprocal tariffs related to a longstanding dispute on aircraft subsidies. The decision comes after a first sign of de-escalation in March 2021, when these tariffs had been suspended for 4 months. However, progress still needs to be made to remove reciprocal tariffs related to the aluminum and steel dispute, which the two sides will try to do by end 2021.
Trade, investment and technological cooperation will be the theme of reflection of a new high-level EU – US Trade Technology Council. The Council will set out working groups on a plethora of topics including international technology standards, data governance and technology platforms, climate and green technology, investment screening and global trade.
On climate change, the EU and the US have committed to improve coordination with the help of a EU-US High-Level Climate Action Group ,including on the upcoming COP26 conference, sustainable finance, energy efficiency, carbon leakage and reducing methane emissions. A future Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance should also be set to scale-up technologies to decarbonize power systems and move away from coal. The two side acknowledge the need to strengthen cooperation on space-based Earth observation to support climate policies.
Finally, in preserving democracy, peace and security, the EU and the US agreed on the possibility for the US to participate in military mobility projects in the Permanent Structured Cooperation on Defense (PESCO) established by 25 EU Member States.
Article by Anca Caruntu, Director European Affairs