There is concern in Europe that US President Joe Biden’s “deflationary legislation” will harm European industry. It is a large-scale subsidy scheme for energy conversion. The EU’s foreign representative, Joseph Borrell, has already said it is protectionist and against the rules for international trade.
Lahbib also expressed that concern in Washington, where he is visiting. Yesterday, he held a bilateral meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves.
“I’m glad the U.S. is going down this path (with a climate plan, ed.), but if it weakens a European partner, it could play into the hands of our competitors,” Lahbib said. According to the Belgian minister, Europe and America are pursuing the same goals. They want to diversify the economy and realize the energy shift in the changing geopolitical environment. “It requires concerted action,” he said.
Last week, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was already in Washington for a meeting with President Biden. Despite the commitment to avoid harmful competition, there are concerns in Europe’s capitals.
Lahbib also pointed out in Washington that a complete disengagement from China is “unrealistic”. “The country remains an important trading partner,” he said, adding that China is simultaneously viewed as “a partner, a competitor and a legitimate rival.”
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