US-Europe relations growing increasingly complex

TEHRAN, Dec. 07 (MNA) – An Italian expert says despite the shared vision of the US and Europe on the international order, the two side's relations are growing complicated and sometimes become a painful process.

France's President Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Washington last week and was feted on the first state visit by a foreign leader since President Biden took office. While both sides tried to show the worth of their old alliance, they could not hide the differences and gaps in transatlantic relations even during the war in Ukraine. 

Mr. Macron’s restlessness, as he seeks some new “security architecture” for Europe and greater “strategic autonomy” for the continent rather than continued dependence on the United States for defense, has been an irritant to the US administrations, particularly to Biden's. 

Besides Macron's views of the Europe security structure, some other issues like AUKUS (a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US), IRA (Inflation Reduction Act), and expensive US gas prices for Europe have been among the issues that have cast a shadow over the relations between the US and his allies on the other side of the Atlantic. 

To shed more light on the issue, we reached out to the political science associate professor of Milan Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Dr. Pastori Gianluca and discussed the issue with him in an interview.

US-Europe relations growing increasingly complex

Here is the full text of the interview:

President Macron slammed the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). How can this act affect generally the EU economy and specifically France’s?

There are two main reasons for Europe’s concern. First, several IRA provisions incentivizing US customers to buy US-made products could negatively impact EU export. Second, some provisions could encourage European firms to invest in the US, with potentially adverse effects on the national side. Post-COVID Europe, already facing high energy prices, fears that these dynamics could further weaken its economy, also with negative domestic repercussions. The problem does not affect only France. For instance, the German government and the European Union also expressed concern. The US and the EU have also established a task force to deal with the problem; however, the issue is complex, and the task force’s workings will probably take time.

Before leaving for Washington, he also criticized the US’s expensive energy. Don’t you think that the US energy companies are profiteering? Won’t such acts harm Europe’s economy and the prospect of the two sides’ relations?

In 2022, US LNG export to the EU increased by 26 billion cubic meters (bcm) compared to 2021. It has been a massive effort, far exceeding the 15 bcm increase that President Biden committed in mid-March, and partly explains the current surge in US domestic inflation. Due to the high market prices, this increase has meant high profits for US companies (but not only for them; other non-US companies benefitted from the situation) and adverse effects on the European economy. However, high profits and adverse effects have been products of market dynamics more than a possible US political or economic speculation. Unsurprisingly, cooperation between the US and EU did not end, as the process that led to adopting the price cap on Russia’s oil export confirms.

Many believe that the war in Ukraine has not only negatively affected Europe’s economy and its global role but also has increased the US influence in Europe. What do you think of this?

The Ukraine war highlighted the importance of Washington’s leadership. It has been primarily the US activism that built and kept together the pro-Kyiv coalition at the European and global levels. In the same way, the war highlighted the importance of US military capabilities. The European countries alone would not have been able to offer Kyiv the same qualitative and quantitative level of assistance the US did in the past months. However, on many aspects, US and European positions were – and remain – quite distinct. More than increasing the US influence over Europe, I think the Ukraine war emphasized that Europe and the US are still highly interdependent and have several interests in common, even if they do not fully agree on every point in the agenda.

During Trump’s term, many believed the gaps and differences between the two sides of the Atlantic would decrease after the term, but we still see the same problems and no change in White House policies like the AKUS case. How do you see the prospect of the two sides’ ties and alliance?

I think US/Europe relations are facing a long-term transformation. The US and Europe –the EU and the individual countries – are trying to shape a new kind of relationship, made of both competition and cooperation. Both are looking for more room for action, dropping some old customs that no more fit the current international environment, and this is a troublesome – sometimes painful – process. Presidents like Trump and Biden have different styles, but their role is just one part of the mix. In a nutshell, US/Europe relations are growing increasingly complex, which is the reason for many problems. However, a shared vision of the international order still supports the transatlantic bond and provides the US and Europe more reasons to stay together than to drift apart.

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 194625


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