United States and Europe: Pulling in the one direction
Maas prior to the informal Foreign Affairs Council, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net
Foreign Minister Maas and his European counterparts talk to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about China, the Middle East peace process and the EU’s Eastern Partnership.
Today, the EU’s informal Foreign Affairs Council held every two weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic featured a detailed exchange with the US Secretary of State. Although there were differences of opinion in various fields, the transatlantic relationship is and remains a central reference point for German and European foreign policy.
The Middle East peace process topped the agenda. Both Heiko Maas and Mike Pompeo have recently been to Israel. For Maas, it is clear:
For us, the primary concern must be to revive the peace process and find a way for both sides to negotiate directly. A multilateral format could be the right framework here and we stand ready to support any initiative in this direction.
Expectations of China
Relations with China also played a central role in the talks with the US Secretary of State. Europe and the United States have a shared core interest: we need China as a responsible actor in international relations.
Europe and the United States alike have clear expectations of China: fair conditions for trade and investment, compliance with international treaties and obligations – for example, with regard to Hong Kong – and transparency in the fight against #Covid19. These expectations can be met much more easily when Europe and the United States pull in the one direction – based on their shared values.
The EU’s Eastern Partnership plays a key role when it comes to Europe’s security and prosperity. Here, too, Europe and the United States have a shared goal. The EU wants to promote an area of democracy and the rule of law as well as free economic relations to benefit all sides. The EU is particularly active in Ukraine. Today’s talks with Mike Pompeo thus also focused on how to inject new dynamism into the difficult peace process.