Biden’s Address: what does it mean for Europe?
US President Joe Biden placed special emphasis on the economic situation in the US in his State of the Union Address. The Democrat stressed that twelve million new jobs have been created in the first two years of his presidency and called on Republicans to collaborate with his administration so that more projects can be implemented. Europe’s press focuses on Biden’s protectionist measures.
"America first" a threat to Europe’s economy
The positive economic data in the US is less welcome on this side of the Atlantic, Jyllands-Posten writes:
“Of course it is good to know that so many Americans are gainfully employed and that the country seems to have coped well with the energy crisis as well as the upheavals resulting from the war in Ukraine. However, the joy is marred by the fact that a majority in Congress supports measures that directly hit businesses in Europe. The same applies to legislation aimed at boosting the development and production of microchips in the US with massive subsidies. ... In all these measures, which rely heavily on direct or indirect subsidies, the US has not bothered to involve its closest allies.”
New conflicts only a matter of time
Handelsblatt’s Washington correspondent Annett Meiritz analyses Biden’s stance:
“Just a few months ago, Biden adopted a conciliatory manner in the dispute over the Inflation Reduction Act and emphasised that the US did not want to offend its European partners. Now he says: ‘I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong’. That is a sentence that should be remembered in Europe. Protectionism is and will remain Biden’s constant, also in a potential second term. ... No president will back away from it in the foreseeable future. New conflicts in the transatlantic relationship are only a matter of time.”
Countering his bad image
Biden needs such powerful words, La Vanguardia points out:
“Biden is saddled with the image of being old and unfit to lead the country, which he sought to refute with his speech. He did so with weighty arguments: during his first two years in office hundreds of laws have been passed and twelve million jobs have been created, a record number since 1969. ... He gave substance to Trump’s slogan ‘Make America great again’ when he announced that in future all the materials used in large infrastructure projects must be produced in the country. ... Alongside this protectionist policy, he launched social messages such as an increase in taxes on large fortunes. ... In short, Biden showed more verve than usual and gave a powerful speech.”