EU calls for ‘pause and reset’ in transatlantic relationship
The comment made by a top EU official comes following the ongoing dispute between France and the United States over a security deal involving the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
A top EU official today urged Europe and the United States to “pause and reset” their “broken” relationship, adding fuel to an ongoing dispute between France and Washington over a new security deal between the U.S., U.K. and Australia.
The EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton — an appointee of the French government under President Emmanuel Macron — made the comment during a visit to Washington where he met with U.S. counterparts to discuss coronavirus policies, technology and cybersecurity issues.
“I planned this visit to the U.S. weeks ago with a positive agenda, to deepen EU-U.S. cooperation [but] something has changed,” Breton is expected to say at a virtual event, according to prepared notes shared with reporters. “There is a growing feeling in Europe – and I say this with regret – that something is broken in our transatlantic relations.”
“There is a strong perception that trust between the EU and U.S. has been eroded,” Breton will say, singling out the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and last week’s security cooperation agreement between Washington, London and Canberra as key reasons. “It is probably time to pause and reset our EU-U.S. relationship.”
Breton’s remarks come after other EU leaders on Monday accused U.S. President Joe Biden of disloyalty and demanded he explain why he misled France and other European partners in forging a new strategic tie-up with the U.K. and Australia. The so-called AUSUK deal meant that Canberra canceled a deal worth more than €50 billion to buy French submarines.
The United States tried to ease European concerns on Monday when it announced a sudden decision to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated Europeans looking to fly to the U.S. from November onward.
The decision to lift restrictions is “a welcome – but logical – decision given the success of the vaccination campaign in the EU,” Breton will say.
European diplomats are currently deliberating whether to cancel or postpone an upcoming EU-U.S. summit to discuss joint policies on technology and trade.
The first meeting of the Trade and Tech Council is scheduled for September 29, in Pittsburgh, but the diplomatic crisis means the EU could cancel the gathering altogether, officials told POLITICO.