In this interview given to Mirasha Ghazi from Asharq Business Bloomberg, Christof Rühl, member of the Advisory Board of Crystol Energy and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, commented on the future of the European Union (EU) in light of the escalation of internal differences and the revival of the American partnership under Biden’s administration.
Christof highlighted the major challenges that the EU is currently facing. First, the pressing priority for the EU is to restore its Transatlantic relationship, after it was nearly ruined by President Donald Trump. Second, the management of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in a way that preserves the relation of the EU with its main trade partners, namely the United States (US) and China. Finally, the long-term challenge is to minimize the alteration in EU policies while confronting various crises.
Commenting on the economic impact of Biden’s visit to Europe, Christof explained that the impact was seen before the visit. This was first observed by the removal of the tit-for-tat tariffs between the EU and the US, and the signaling of Joe Biden that he will not stop financing the strategic coalition of NATO, unlike his predecessor. The final translation of the impact was witnessed in the G7 summit, whereby an agreement was reached on a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% to ensure a level-playing field for multinational firms. These steps indicate that the US-EU relationship is coming back to its normal pace pre-Trump administration and that the US sees the EU as an essential partner on the international front against its rivalry with China.
As Europe is transitioning from one crisis to another, expectations were that the Union will not last long and eventually collapse. However, the reality is that the Union overcomes the crises a little stronger than what it used to be before. Christof pointed at Europe’s advanced position in each of the cybersecurity, corporate taxes and open trade policy and that much can be offered to the world on these fronts.
Finally, Christof said that the EU has a clear vision on the social, political and economic levels and is in a closer position to the US and various democracies around the world. At the same time, Europe is not ready to consider China as a threat, as much as the US does, and is currently trying to absorb various shocks to prevent a real confrontation between both powers.