Anger over defense pact undermines EU-US negotiations |

Without consulting the EU, the United States formed a defense alliance with Britain and Australia. The EU then considered canceling an important meeting. Now there is a decision.

Brussels (dpa) – Regardless of the breach of trust caused by the defense pact forged behind its back between the United States, Great Britain and Australia, the EU is sticking to the expansion plans of transatlantic cooperation.

European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and her colleague Valdis Dombrovskis announced Thursday evening that they will travel to Pittsburgh for high-level talks next week, as scheduled. “Strategic alliances are about creating common approaches and overcoming challenges,” they commented.

After the announcement of the new defense pact last week, France notably questioned whether talks with the EU should go as planned. The reason was that the United States accepted the alliance with Britain and Australia without consulting other allies.

Particularly annoying for the government in Paris, the partnership called Aukus for more security in the Indo-Pacific region also severed a 56 billion euro submarine contract between Australia and France. Australia now wants to buy nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the United States and Britain as part of the new alliance. The agreement with France was for diesel powered submarines.

The EU decision just taken is also symbolically relevant as it is expected to meet for the first time with the United States under a new Trade and Technology Council. It was launched in June at an EU-US summit by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden and is intended to serve as a forum for deepening transatlantic trade and economic relations on the basis of shared values. To this end, close coordination on important global trade, economic and technological issues is sought.

For the United States, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken, Trade Minister Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai will participate in the talks in Pittsburgh. Specifically, it will be the current bottlenecks in semiconductors, which are important for many industrial sectors.

However, questions about the controversial Aukus Defense Pact and its possible consequences should obviously be avoided. A press conference after the meeting was not scheduled, a spokesperson for the committee said Thursday evening. The result will be communicated via a joint declaration.

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