US-French dispute divides Europe - The New York Times

A senior European Union official pleaded on Tuesday to “pause and reset” relations between the bloc and the United States as a diplomati...


A senior European Union official pleaded on Tuesday to “pause and reset” relations between the bloc and the United States as a diplomatic row between France and the United States. Biden administration has become a European issue.

“There is a growing feeling in Europe – and I say this with regret – that something is broken in our transatlantic relations,” Thierry Breton, European trade commissioner, told a virtual event organized by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research organization on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Confidence is not earned,” said Breton. “And after the latest events, there is a strong perception that trust between the EU and the US has been eroded.”

Mr Breton was the latest bloc official to question the Biden administration’s commitment to a strong alliance with the European Union. Tensions have intensified in recent days after Australia canceled a $ 66 billion deal to buy French-built submarines in favor of US-made and nuclear-powered submarines.

France reacted angrily to the security agreement between the United States, Great Britain and Australia, and recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia last week.

The submarine deal came after a chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan on which EU leaders said they had not been consulted. Many officials who praised President Biden’s election – and his promise that “America is back” – are now voicing concerns.

While the Biden administration has tried to play down the dispute, European officials sharpened their tone, though they stopped before taking concrete action.

“What does it mean, ‘America is back’? Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, who represents the leaders of the 27 members of the bloc, told reporters in New York on Monday. “Is America back in America or elsewhere?” We do not know.

The words of M. Breton and M. Michel echoed the position of Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, who told CNN on Monday that she would seek “to find out what happened and why “before the bloc can” continue to do business as usual “with the United States.

But despite such rhetoric from French and European officials, some European capitals fear the dispute will harm the bloc’s broader interests. Although European countries have shown solidarity with France in public, in private, some officials have called the clash a bilateral affair between France and the United States.

A European diplomat said that French President Emmanuel Macron had often played a leading role in promoting more “strategic autonomy” for Europe, only to realize that few EU members followed.

And a legislator in the European Parliament took a nuanced point of view. “Of course, we cannot pretend nothing has happened,” said Reinhard Bütikofer, the legislator, said monday. “But the EU’s reaction is not decided unilaterally by Paris.”



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Newsrust - US Top News: US-French dispute divides Europe - The New York Times
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