Von der Leyen, Blinken talk on Covid-19, climate, trade, NATO and EU neighbours

Photo: EU Ursula Von der Leyen and Antony J. Blinken.

The visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels started on Wednesday late afternoon with press statements of the guest and his host EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

Saying that the United States is an important and valued partner for the European Union and “we want to forge a new EU-U.S. global agenda to meet the challenges, but also to seize the opportunities of our time”, von der Leyen underscored that his presence there is a “very clear sign that we share the same ambition”.

She specified that the most immediate priority is to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and to deal with its consequences on the economy, on people.

We know that no region in the world will be safe unless all are safe, she said noting that she looks forward to engaging with him on strengthening the global supply chains for vaccines and to prepare for potential escape mutants.

The EC President also recalled that earlier this month, they agreed with President Biden to suspend all tariffs imposed in the context of the Airbus-Boeing disputes for four months.

“This is a positive and important step, but there are other tariffs still in place, and wider issues to address, such as the reform for example of the multilateral trading system. So I am looking forward to discussing how to shape our trade and technology agenda and how to harness the joint potential,” von der Leyen outlined.

She also accented that “climate change remains the defining challenge of our time”. We whole-heartedly commend President Biden for re-joining the Paris Agreement and we are very much looking forward to preparing the key milestones of this year – this begins with Earth Day at the end of April, COP15 in Kunming in October, and COP26 in Glasgow in November, she said.

During their meeting von der Leyen and Blinken will  discuss as well key foreign policy and security issues, NATO, but also topics on China, Russia, Turkey, Western Balkans, Eastern and Southern partnership.

“We share common concerns and we should seek opportunities to work together beyond our respective borders. Stronger joint efforts between us are essential to tackle these challenges effectively. Let me thank you once again for your presence today. I am very much looking forward to productive work between the European Union and the United States of America in the coming years,” the EC President explained.

We see the European Union as a partner of first resort, Secretary Blinken said quoting President Biden words that “the US will work with our allies and our EU partners across the continent to address our shared challenges and meet our shared goals.

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