‘Europe no longer fully trusts America’

'Europe no longer fully trusts America'
InternationalJun 25 ’23 at 4:48 PMAuthor of the book: Samuel Hanegreifs

Presenters Arend Jan Boekestijn and Rob de Wijk see growing tensions within the transatlantic alliance. This is reflected in the relationship with China. Europe wants good economic relations with Beijing. America wants to distance itself further.’

China has been on the charm offensive of Europeans lately. After years of strained relations, more government leaders are being invited to meet President Xi Jinping again. Also Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s first overseas trip was to Europe. On the other hand, despite Foreign Minister Blinken’s visit to Beijing, relations between the US and China remain tense.

This matches the picture painted by Arend Jan Boekestijn and Rob de Wijk in their podcast ‘Boekestijn en de Wijk’. They argue that the noise between Washington and Brussels is increasing. According to this British political analyst, many Europeans feel uncomfortable with the US and China as two superpowers pitted against each other.

Also Read | America still leads the world, but its allies are restless (Bloomberg)

According to political analyst Niall Ferguson, many Europeans are uncomfortable with the US and China establishing themselves as superpowers. (ANP / Associated Press)

Each in our own way

‘You can see Europe and America each going their own way,’ says de Wijk. “It creates a situation where the Europeans have to learn to pull their own plan. The uncertainty about the outcome of the US elections reinforces that feeling.’

This transatlantic tension is reflected in relations with China, among others. “Europe wants to have good economic relations with the country so that we can earn from it,” says Bogestijn. “America wants to distance itself further. You can see the pressure it exerts around chipmaker ASML.

Awkward situation

According to Boekestijn and De Wijk, what makes the whole situation awkward is that the US still has military superiority. ‘Look at Ukraine, where the US provides more support than all EU member states combined,’ says Boekestijn. De Wijk: ‘We have neglected our security and are dependent on the Americans. They are coming to our aid for the umpteenth time.’ De Wijk fears that by doing so they may ‘make us dance to their tune’. ‘And to be in high order militarily and economically.’

Also Read | ‘Europe needs trade deals with US’

Nevertheless, Europe seems to be able to withstand the pressure. “You see Europeans trying to become more and more independent from America,” says de Wijk. “We continue to insist on economic and military autonomy. Because we don’t fully trust America.’

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