Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for trade, told Lusa that he expected “close cooperation” from the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union with the new US administration, chaired by Joe Biden.
“We certainly expect a close relationship and close cooperation with the Portuguese presidency on this issue,” Dombrovskis told Lusa when asked about the role that the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union could have with the new US administration led by Biden.
The Latvian official said that “there are high hopes for the Biden administration” as the president-elect of the United States “has already shown that he is a great supporter of multilateralism, international alliances and improved relations with the EU”.
Dombrovskis said that trade, where disputes between the EU and the United States marked president Donald Trump’s term in office, would have a “very intense agenda during the Portuguese presidency”.
In this regard, he also said that the EU would look to Portugal “for example, in the agreement with Mercosur, where we will need support and a ‘push’ from the Portuguese presidency to move forward with the agreement”.
On possible summits, Dombrovskis said that “this is a prerogative of the Portuguese presidency”, highlighting the meeting with India at that level.
On Wednesday, the secretary of state for European affairs said she “would very much like” to have a first meeting during the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union with the new US president, Joe Biden, to discuss the new transatlantic agenda.
“We would very much like to have a first meeting with President Biden during the Portuguese presidency, if possible because he will also come to Brussels for a NATO meeting or another meeting…”, said Ana Paula Zacarias in a video conference presentation of the priorities of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU.
In an interview with Lusa, Dombrovskis also spoke about the social role of trade, which will be addressed in the review of the Union’s trade policies in February.
“I would say the main message is that the EU remains open to free and fair trade, but we will be more assertive in defending our interests, our rights and the interests of our companies,” he said.
On the social side, the EU is emphasising “the role of trade in sustainable development”, dealing with issues such as global warming, but also “labour rights”.
“For example, we are looking at options for linking tariff concessions with the implementation of certain sustainable development objectives,” the Latvian official said.