US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that cooperation between allies was more important than at any time in recent history and that relations with Nato and the EU would be crucial to overcoming global challenges.
Speaking on the last day of his three-day visit to Brussels, Blinken continued what many European officials said was a charm offensive to win back the support of allies sidelined during the Trump years, according to Reuters.
“I came here very much with one particular focus in mind, and that was to make clear the US’ determination to revitalise our alliances and partnerships,” said Blinken, a long-time Biden confidante, involved in US foreign policy for decades.
“There’s a greater premium than at any time since I’ve been involved in these issues, on finding ways to work together, again,” he said. “A basic tenet of the Biden-Harris administration is consulting with our friends, early and often.”
On Wednesday, he won EU support for a US plan to confront Chinese power together through a formal dialogue that Beijing had hoped to avoid.
China’s decision on Monday to retaliate strongly against Western sanctions over human rights abuses is actually bringing Europe and the US closer together.
European governments have summoned Chinese envoys to explain measures against EU nationals that are seen as going far beyond the sanctions Brussels imposed.
“We’re convinced that it is through enduring relationships, like the one between our countries, and like the ones that exist through the European Union and through Nato that we can overcome any of these challenges,” Blinken said.
Citing the “devastating” Covid-19 pandemic, Blinken also promised to work with the EU and Nato on the global distribution of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines, and to ensure they are prepared for future pandemics.
While maintaining that Europe did not have to choose between the US and China, Blinken insisted throughout his trip that the West must show authoritarian states that democracy is a superior system, and to stand up for liberal values.