Europe 'splits the line' about America in the Biden era 3Europe 'splits the line' about America in the Biden era 3

When Donald Trump was in the White House, French President Emmanuel Macron led the push to promote the idea of European `strategic autonomy`, in which the EU could operate more independently, have greater military power, build

However, for European Atlanticists, strategic autonomy is a dangerous and unrealistic concept.

As someone who pursues international cooperation and pledges to restore close ties with America’s traditional ally, Biden and his victory are expected to boost the views of those who oppose the idea of European autonomy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and French President Emmanuel Macron in Brussels, Belgium in July. Photo: Reuters.

President Macron has publicly criticized German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who views Europe’s strategic autonomy as `an illusion`.

In an interview on November 16, the French President said that he really disagreed with Kramp-Karrenbauer’s views.

Although in public, many European leaders believe that they can pursue the idea of strategic autonomy while maintaining relations with the United States.

Macron, European Commissioner Thierry Breton, European Council President Charles Michel and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, are strong supporters of strategic autonomy.

Strategic autonomy advocates warn that Biden’s victory does not mean Europe can return to the era of relying on ‘Uncle Sam’ (America’s nickname).

Michel, a close ally of Macron, declared that there should be no `rejoicing` about the upcoming change in the White House.

Clément Beaune, France’s minister in charge of European affairs, warned Europe to avoid behaving like `a child waiting for an adult on the other side of the Atlantic to bestow some reward or benevolence`.

But on the other side of the Rhine, the perspective is quite different.

In her first reaction to Biden’s victory, Chancellor Merkel described transatlantic friendship as `indispensable if we have to deal with the challenges of our time`.

The German Chancellor added that Europe needs to do more to protect the continent’s security and values, but said that this effort comes with the responsibility of maintaining the transatlantic partnership.

`Europe’s illusion of strategic autonomy needs to end. Europe will not be able to replace America’s important role in providing security,` Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close associate of Merkel, affirmed.

However, this German position may not be certain when Mrs. Merkel’s term will expire in less than a year.

Others try to find a middle ground in the debate about the future direction of Europe.

Europe 'splits the line' about America in the Biden era

Joe Biden (left) and Prime Minister Merkel in Berlin, Germany in February 2013.

Many observers say that if the idea of European strategic autonomy is to be taken more seriously, the EU will have to step up its game, combining words, money and actions.

In terms of diplomacy, the EU has not yet improved the regulation that requires the consensus of all 27 members when making decisions, instead of just requiring majority approval.

In terms of defense spending, among the major EU economies, only France meets NATO’s target of spending 2% of GDP.

When EU leaders reached an agreement on the bloc’s seven-year budget in July, defense-related spending fell short of expectations set by the European Commission.

Not only defense – security and strategic autonomy that many Europeans desire also refers to economic policies.

To do that, the EU must upgrade its `arsenal` with new antitrust rules in the digital sector, greater trade defense power, as well as plans to amend regulations.

The EU has signaled it will press ahead with these plans, despite upcoming changes in the White House.

Bruno Le Maire and Peter Altmaier, the two economic ministers of France and Germany, have promoted the plan to build strategic autonomy, initiating joint investment projects in many fields of cloud technology, hydrogen and

But this plan also faced criticism, showing skepticism and division among members of the bloc.

If Europe wants to become more autonomous and competitive, France and Germany do not just have to invest political energy in their own interests, `but they need to look at it in a more global perspective`, according to Enrico Letta

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