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Europe applauds Joe Biden’s speech

Sighs of relief rose from several European capitals on Saturday after US President Joe Biden clarified in his first major foreign policy speech that he rejected his predecessor’s “America first” criteria and called for cooperation among Western allies.

At the same time, politicians and observers warned that some sources of tension from the Donald Trump presidency still persist and that arduous tasks await allies after Biden’s honeymoon ends.

“Biden delivered the speech that many Europeans wanted to hear, an America patting you on the shoulder, not criticizing or demanding,” wrote the influential German magazine Der Spiegel. On Friday, Biden was the first president to speak at the Munich Security Conference, although he did so virtually.

“Will it continue like this? For the moment it was the right message: their main intention was to heal the wounds of the Trump years, ”the magazine said in an analysis.

For years the annual conference in Munich has been seen as a forum where world rulers can exchange and discuss ideas in an informal setting.

It is important that Germany and the rest of Europe take advantage of the new willingness of the United States to dialogue and work hard to resolve issues on which there is disagreement, said Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s parliamentary bloc.

“With his speech, Joe Biden reached out to Europe,” Hardt said. “The next few months should be used to resolve numerous pending issues such as punitive tariffs, extraterritorial sanctions for (the pipeline) Nord Stream 2 or the digital tax.”

Merkel told reporters on Friday after Biden’s speech that it is up to Europe to follow the example of her early days in office and move from words to deeds.

He mentioned the return of the United States to the Paris climate agreement, the decision to remain in the World Health Organization and participate in the UN Council for Human Rights, extend the Nievo START nuclear treaty with Russia and try to revive the nuclear agreement. with Iran as “important steps towards greater multilateral cooperation.”