European leaders expressed relief at Joe Biden’s inauguration, hailing a “new dawn” for Europe and the United States, but warned that the world has changed after four years as President Donald Trump and that transatlantic ties will be different in the future.
“This new dawn in America is the moment we have been waiting for so long,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, told MPs. “Once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”
The head of the EU executive arm said Biden’s swearing-in was “a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy”, and the bloc was “ready to reconnect with a trusted former partner to breathe new life into to our dear alliance ”.
However, Von der Leyen said relief shouldn’t lead to illusion, because while “Trump may soon be relegated to history, his supporters remain.”
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, also said the United States has changed. Transatlantic relations had “suffered a lot” and the world had become “more complex, less stable and less predictable,” said Michel, who chairs the summits between the 27 EU heads of state and government.
“We have our differences and they won’t magically disappear. America seems to have changed, and the way it is viewed in Europe and the rest of the world has also changed, ”he said. Europeans “must take our destiny firmly in hand”.
A study this week showed that while many Europeans praised Biden’s election victory, more people felt that after four years of Trump, the United States could not be trusted, and a majority believed that Biden would not be able to mend a “broken” country or reverse its decline on the world stage.
EU invited Biden to a NATO summit and high-level meeting when he’s ready, Michel called for “a founding new pact” to boost multilateral cooperation, fight Covid, fight climate change and help with economic recovery.
the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was “greatly relieved” at Biden’s inauguration, hailing “a good day for democracy.” He said democracy under the Trump administration had faced “enormous challenges and endured … and proved to be strong.”
Steinmeier said the transfer of power to Biden brought “hope that the international community can work more closely together,” and he said that Germany looked forward to “knowing that we have the United States in again. our side as an indispensable partner ”.
However, he said that “despite the joy of this day”, the past four years have shown that “we must resolutely resist polarization, protect and strengthen our democracies, and develop policies based on reason and fact” .
ItalyBiden Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said his country “looks forward to Biden’s presidency, with whom we will start working immediately.” He said the two countries had a strong common agenda, including “effective multilateralism, climate change, green and digital transition and social inclusion”.
the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Biden’s victory represented “the victory of democracy over the far right and its three methods – massive deception, national division and sometimes violent abuses of democratic institutions.”
Five years ago, Sánchez said, the world thought Trump was “a bad joke. But five years later, we realized that he threatened nothing less than the most powerful democracy in the world.
Boris Johnson’s prime minister, who has been criticized for his close relationship with Trump, said he was eager to work closely with Biden, citing a host of policy areas in which he hoped to collaborate.
“In our fight against Covid and in the face of climate change, defense, security, and in the promotion and defense of democracy, our objectives are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them”, Johnson said in a statement.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called for Russia and the United States to mend their strained ties. “The current state of relations between Russia and the United States is very worrying,” he said in an interview with the official Tass news agency. “But it also means that something has to be done to normalize relationships. We cannot isolate ourselves from each other. “
Among the most outspoken enemies of the United States, Iran, who has repeatedly called on Washington to lift the sanctions imposed for its nuclear campaign, did not miss the opportunity to celebrate Trump’s departure.
“The era of a tyrant has come to an end and today is the last day of his worrying reign,” said President Hassan Rouhani. “We expect the Biden administration to go back to the law and its commitments, and try over the next four years, if it can, to remove the stains of the past four years.”
Biden’s administration has said it wants the United States to revert to the landmark Iran nuclear deal from which Trump has withdrawn, provided Tehran returns to strict compliance.