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EU-US relations under Biden won't be the same as before Trump, top official says

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Le président américain élu Joe Biden
Le président américain élu Joe Biden   -   Copyright  ANGELA WEISS/AFP or licensors
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EU-US relations will not return to how they were before Donald Trump came to power, according to the European Commission's top trade official.

Sabine Weyland, the EU's director-general for trade, was speaking at a videoconference for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration as the US' 46th president on Wednesday.

"There will be no nostalgia. We are not going to go back to the global order of previous days. The world today is not the same as it was ten or even five years ago," Weyland said.

Weyland's words suggest four years of hostility towards Europe from Donald Trump's administration have left a mark.

Nevertheless, Brussels is looking for closer cooperation with the US. It wants to focus on core priorities, like fighting the pandemic and its economic fallout, tackling climate change, and finding common ground on digital and trade policies.

Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics said that even with Trump out of the picture, American interests are still what counts most in Washington.

"The Biden administration somewhat disappointingly is not just going to reverse all the tariffs," Posen explained.

"They will certainly stop escalating them and they will stop some of the more ridiculous tariffs that were put on allies with national security excuses. But there will be some attempt by the Biden administration to extract things in return for reducing the tariffs."

US tariffs on French brandy that came into effect just days ago may not disappear immediately and this is even more true for the tariffs on aeroplane parts in the longstanding Airbus-Boeing row.

But according to Peter Trubowitz from the London School of Economics, both sides are eager not to let individual issues darken a relationship that is almost certain to improve.

"I think there is room here for the transatlantic relationship to become stronger, but I also think it will be more balanced than it has been in the past. This is going to require something on the US side, some give on the US side, but it will also require something from the Europeans," Trubowitz told Euronews.