President-elect Joe Biden’s victory will have been welcomed by figures in the EU after four years of hostility with outgoing Donald Trump. Mr Trump had sparked a trade war with the bloc in 2018 and was a vocal support of the UK’s decision to leave the bloc. However, Mr Biden is sympathetic to the European Project and expressed his opposition to Brexit in 2016 – signalling a shift in relations between Brussels and Washington. Despite this, reports suggest that the Democrat leader could still spark division between major players in the EU.
In a column published by Politico in November, Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Europe would remain dependent on Washington for its defence for a long time to come.
The strong ally of Angela Merkel found her views strongly opposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for “strategic autonomy” and said he was “in complete disagreement” with the German minister.
This came as Mr Macron was reportedly left “rattled” by Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s warning against the “illusions” of pursuing European defence independence, according to Reuters.
Despite Mr Macron’s clashes with President Trump, people close to the French President had said that the US’ “America First’ approach and criticism of Germany for not reaching defence spending targets had helped France’s cause.
Despite the division in the bloc, many in Europe will still be expectant of a new “special relationship” between the US and the EU rather than the US and UK.
Political journalist Mark Handler highlighted that Mr Biden could prioritise US-EU relations rather than build bridges with the UK.
He warned that Mr Biden’s emphasis would be on mending fences with Berlin and Paris, not celebrating a “special relationship” with London.
Charles A. Kupchan, a professor at Georgetown University who worked on European affairs in the Obama White House and is advising Mr Biden’s campaign, said: “The question is not, ‘Will there be a special relationship?’ There will be. The question is, ‘Will the special relationship matter?’”
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Worst for Prime Minister Johnson, experts have warned his efforts to override the withdrawal agreement in Brexit talks could compromise a trade deal with the US.
Professor Stephen Burman told Express.co.uk in October: “Joe Biden is Irish, so his commitment to a united Ireland would be absolute. If the Brits somehow contravened that and trouble arises on the border, Mr Biden would be furious.
“There are a lot of Irish sympathising politicians in the House of Representatives, and they would scupper a trade deal if Boris Johnson undermined the Good Friday Agreement.
“These things are absolute, the UK has no leverage on this.
“The UK would be finished in their eyes, and they would take retribution potentially across a whole range of policies.
“The British Government really are playing with fire here.
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“The Americans will not hesitate to teach us a lesson if we don’t get the Irish border issue right.”
He also warned that the UK could be left adrift if Mr Johnson continues on his current path.
He added that the UK could also be left behind in the security and military world too.
Prof Burman continued: “The first thing would be to trade. They’d have nothing to do with us on trade.
“Washington would possibly downgrade military and intelligence partnership, they’d just say ‘we aren’t giving you this anymore’.
“The US doesn’t have a very high estimate of British capabilities in a military setting.
“What’s left is the UK would simply be ignored.
“No trade deal, the special relationship disintegrates in front of your eyes, a Biden presidency cultivates the EU while the UK is left adrift.”