The European Union and the United States have agreed on a number of joint measures after a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday of their two most senior diplomats. EU High Representative Josep Borrell and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed ways to strengthen the EU-US relationship and co-ordinate responses to prioritise foreign policy, security, and economic issues. They also committed to co-operate in the face of global challenges, including addressing the global climate crisis, bringing an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating a sustainable economic recovery, and defending democratic values and fundamental freedoms including within multilateral structures.
China and Russia were high on the agenda.
On China, the two sides "decided to re-launch the bilateral dialogue on China, as a forum to discuss the full range of related challenges and opportunities. They acknowledged a shared understanding that relations with China are multifaceted, comprising elements of co-operation, competition, and systemic rivalry."
High Representative Borrell and Secretary Blinken noted their determination to further address, in a co-ordinated manner, Russia's challenging behaviour, including its ongoing aggression against Ukraine and Georgia; hybrid threats, such as disinformation; interference in electoral processes; malicious cyber activities; and military posturing. Both sides also decided to co-ordinate their response to the shrinking space in Russia for independent political voices, civil society and media freedom and the dwindling respect for human rights and the rule of law. At the same time, both sides declared that they are ready to engage with Russia on issues of common interest and to encourage Russia to abandon confrontational approaches.
They also decided to continue close co-operation to encourage comprehensive reforms in the EU Eastern neighbourhood, including South Caucasus countries.
Over the last week there has been a flurry of activity as EU and US diplomats moved fast to re-establish the traditional bond in the transatlantic relationship, which had all but disappeared during the time of the Trump administration.
Source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the European External Action Service (Brussels)
Photo: EU High Representative Josep Borrell and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken at their meeting in Brussels on 24 March 2021 (picture courtesy of the press service of the European Union).