By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – Under soon-to-be President Joe Biden, the US and the EU should build a new alliance, a key leader of the bloc proposed on Wednesday.
“On the first day of his mandate, I address a solemn proposal to the new US president. Let's build a new founding pact. For a stronger Europe. For a stronger America. For a better world,” European Council Charles Michel said in the European Parliament, just hours before Biden is to be sworn in as president.
Calling Biden’s Wednesday inauguration a “great day for American democracy,” Michel expressed hope of renewing ties between the bloc and the US as an example of “the bedrock of the rules-based international order.”
The EU leader cited five key points of EU-US cooperation in the coming years: boosting multilateral cooperation, combatting COVID-19, tackling climate change, rebuilding economic ties by ensuring fair trade, and joining forces on security and peace.
In order to work on these goals, Michel invited Biden to Brussels to take part in an EU leaders’ summit.
The remarks came after four years of rocky ties under the Donald Trump administration, years in which Trump regularly insulted and belittled the US’ traditional European allies, disparaging and openly threatening transatlantic ties.
-‘Message of healing’
Also speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined Michel in welcoming Biden’s inauguration.
“Joe Biden's oath will be a message of healing for a deeply divided nation. And it will be a message of hope to a world waiting for the US to be back in the circle of like-minded states,” she said.
Von der Leyen also praised Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office, a pact abandoned by Trump.
On the deadly storming of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, von der Leyen said it showed the dangers that threaten democracy.
The events demonstrate “what happens when hate speech and fake news spread like wildfire through digital media,” she said.
However, she criticized social media giants for shutting down Trump’s accounts, a move they called necessary for public safety, as Trump was widely accused of inciting the riot.
“Such serious interference with freedom of expression should be based on laws and not on company rules. It should be based on decisions of politicians and parliaments and not of Silicon Valley managers,” von der Leyen argued.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as 46th president of the United States on Wednesday at 12 noon Washington, D.C. time (1700GMT).