Restoring stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and a “coordinated approach” to Turkey are among the issues outlined by the European Commission in an internal document on how to “renew and reinvigorate” transatlantic relations under the incoming US administration of Joe Biden.
“The EU and the US share a strategic interest in a stable and secure Eastern Mediterranean. We should seek a coordinated approach in our relations with Turkey, including by addressing current challenges,” says the document, which was prepared for envoys ahead of the December 10-11 European Union summit, where transatlantic relations – as well as the possibility of sanctions against Turkey – will be debated.
The reference may be seen as pointing to the EU’s intention to delay addressing Turkish violations until the new American president is sworn in on January 20 and consultations with Washington can take place.
A source in Brussels, however, said that the document “does not indicate any intention to postpone decisions on Turkey.” Relations with Ankara have been a “serious concern over the past few months and will be discussed at the upcoming European Council, but also with the new Biden administration,” the source said.
According to the source in Brussels, the Commission’s document is aimed at demonstrating that the European Union is prepared to take the initiative instead of waiting for signals from the new US administration.
“The arrival of a new administration and Congress … is an opportunity for the EU to renew and reinvigorate its strategic partnership with the US based on mutual interests,” the document says. “The EU should agree a set of concrete priorities on which to engage the new US leadership.”
These priorities are health, including the fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, boosting economic recovery, combating climate change, promoting peace and security, and upholding shared values, including a belief in multilateral rules.
“An EU-US Summit in the first half of 2021 should launch this ambitious and concrete agenda. It would give a clear signal for renewed global leadership and engagement of two self-standing, indispensable partners and allies,” says the document.
“When the transatlantic partnership is strong, the EU and the US are both stronger. It is time to reconnect with a new agenda for transatlantic and global cooperation for the world today,” it adds.