A Swedish government minister has compared President Joe Biden’s rhetoric with his predecessor Donald Trump when he became the latest European politician to express concern over the EU-US link.
Sweden’s Minister for Europe, Hans Dahlgren, is an experienced diplomat and part of the Swedish government that will take over the rotating presidency of the EU in January 2023.
During a working visit to Spain, the Social Democrat said El Pais that he was satisfied with the gains made by the parties from his political persuasion in the other Nordic countries, such as Denmark and Norway.
He was also optimistic about the ties between Stockholm and Berlin after the Social Democratic Party’s triumph in Germany’s weekend elections and expressed hope that Olaf Scholz would be appointed the next chancellor.
However, Dahlgren was more depressed about the prospects for the relationship with the other side of the Atlantic, even though there are significant areas of agreement.
“The new president [Joe Biden] is more favorable for cooperation with Europe and we agree on many issues of international cooperation such as climate change or relations with Iran, he tells the newspaper, according to a translation.
“But we must not deceive ourselves, he represents the interests of the United States and when he first defends America he sounds very similar to trade policy. [Donald] Trump, he added.
The interview published by the Spanish newspaper did not specify which aspects of Biden’s policy Dahlgren opposed, but EU leaders have recently rounded up Biden for disloyalty to the transatlantic alliance.
They have accused Biden of misleading France and European partners in creating a strategic partnership with Britain and Australia in the Indo-Pacific.
The AUKUS agreement aimed to counter a rising China and concluded a multi-billion dollar submarine agreement that France had with Australia and shut down Paris.
With Europe hoping that a Biden presidency would reach out to Europe more than Trump did, the deal received criticism from top EU officials.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told CNN that the treatment of France was “unacceptable” and that “we want to know what happened and why”.
At the same time, European Council President Charles Michel referred to Biden’s comment in June following the G7 summit that “America is back at the table.”
“What does it mean that America is back?” Michel told reporters in New York: “Is America back in America or elsewhere? We do not know,” he said.
“The basic principles of an alliance are loyalty and transparency,” Michel added, “we see a clear lack of transparency and loyalty.”
Michel said that the issue of the EU rift with the United States would be discussed on October 5 among officials ahead of a summit focusing on the Western Balkans.
Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.