EU Needs More Autonomy from US, French FM Argues

If European countries don’t want to be held in suspense at each American election, they must find the path to greater autonomy from the United States, the French foreign minister has argued in an interview with Le Parisien published on Saturday.

Asked for her views on the US midterm elections, French FM Catherine Colonna noted the downsides of Europe’s dependence on US politics, noting, however, that having greater autonomy does not mean greater distance from the US, stressing that trans-Atlantic ties should remain strong.

Noting the weaker-than-expected performance by Republicans, who have not performed as well as predicted, Colonna described the US election race as interesting, highlighting Europe’s reaction to the results – breathing a sigh of relief, at least for now, after the absence of the anticipated turmoil in transatlantic relations and the health of the American democracy.

Colonna’s interview comes at a time of trans-Atlantic trade tensions provoked by the US plans to encourage firms to shift production stateside with planned tax cuts and energy benefits.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in September that a number of European producers of steel, fertilizer, and other feedstocks of economic activity are shifting operations to the US, also singling out Danish jewelry company Pandora A/S and German automaker Volkswagen AG as some of the European businesses expanding production in the US.

The outlet listed as the main reasons behind the businesses’ decision the muscular government support stateside as well as soaring gas prices in Europe after Russia’s war in Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions against Moscow aggravated the energy crisis in Europe that began as the Covid -19 pandemic subsided in 2021.

Agreeing that the American state subsidy plan would constitute unfair competition, Paris and Berlin stressed that these shifts should not go unanswered and reached an agreement on EU retaliatory measures, which would be put in place should the US moves forward with its plans.

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