For the first time ever, a US president spoke to Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference. The reactions of German politicians: mostly relieved and enthusiastic.
In his first speech at the virtual Munich security conference, US President Joe Biden committed to close ties between the US and Europe. “America is back. The transatlantic alliance is back,” said Biden. German politicians reacted largely relieved and enthusiastic about the appearance of the new president.
Former Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) sees Biden’s speech as a positive signal for the transatlantic alliance. “What an optimistic, friendly and committed invitation to us Germans and Europeans to shape the future together”, Gabriel explained in an interview with t-online. “Now it is up to us to accept this invitation.”
Gabriel sees many areas in which closer cooperation is necessary, for example in climate protection, in the fight against the pandemic, in the reform of international organizations, in disarmament and fair trade relations, but also in the “advance of authoritarian regimes” or the fight against terror . “This also includes relieving the US of tasks in Europe and the Middle East,” said Gabriel.
US President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference: “We can win the race for the future.” (Source: Patrick Semansky / AP / dpa)
According to the former Federal Foreign Minister, the EU and Germany must also take a step towards the USA and Biden. “Only if Joe Biden can show his citizens that the partnership with Europe also has advantages for America, he will be successful,” said Gabriel. “That is in our interest, because his success will be our success.”
Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) assessed Biden’s speech in a similar way. She tweeted in German and English: “President Biden holds out his hand for common security, for a strong NATO and for a strategically closed West.” It is now “up to us” to take this outstretched hand and let the deeds speak for themselves.
Trittin: Europe is no longer “worse than China” as it was with Trump
The Green MP Jürgen Tritten, who is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told t-online that Biden’s speech showed how the US wanted to return to international politics: “With realpolitik and cooperation”. Transatlantic relations played a major role in this. “Europe is no longer ‘worse than China’ as it was with Trump. That is good news.”
However, Biden did not say a word about conflicts of interest between Europe and the USA, for example in the case of extraterritorial sanctions, Trittin continued. “You will come anyway.” As a green, especially in Trittin’s focus: Biden’s promise to far intensify the efforts of the USA in the climate crisis. “Biden and Kerry’s announcements in the fight against the climate crisis must now be backed up with action – at the UN climate conference in Glasgow in the autumn.”
Gysi: Biden remains stuck with camp thinking
Gregor Gysi, foreign policy spokesman for the left parliamentary group, told t-online after Biden’s speech that it was to be welcomed that Biden wanted to solve global problems such as climate change or the fight against the pandemic in international cooperation. The fact that these words were followed by deeds with the support of a global vaccination program and the return to the Paris climate agreement “speaks at least for the US turning away from Trump’s extreme national selfishness,” Gysi continued.
But Gysi sees other, big tasks for Biden: “However, one will not be able to answer today’s human questions without the great and nuclear powers China and Russia.” That can already be seen in the questions of disarmament. That is why Biden’s demand, expressed in the speech, to avoid a return to the formation of blocs and the Cold War applies in particular to the USA and the EU itself. “In this regard, Joe Biden remained stuck with camp thinking in his speech On the way to trusting international relations, trust must be built instead of constantly acting only in allegations against Russia and China. “
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, deputy parliamentary group leader of the FDP in the Bundestag, told t-online: “Joe Biden’s speech was strong because it was forward-looking and thoughtful at the same time.” The fact that Biden took part in the conference as the first incumbent President of the USA was a “powerful sign of the cohesion of the West”. The EU must now accept Biden’s outstretched hand in order to rebuild a strong transatlantic alliance.
Söder praises the “new sound” of the USA
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) also praised the “new sound” of the USA at the Munich Security Conference: “US President Joe Biden is stopping the withdrawal of troops from Germany and Bavaria,” he tweeted. “That is a strong signal for a new and better cooperation.” The ties between the US and Europe must be renewed.
“#TeamBidenHarris offers a huge opportunity to overcome the westernlessness of recent years,” tweeted the Green MP Cem Özdemir. The European and transatlantic think tank must be revived – “for democracy, human rights, climate protection”, Özdemir continued.
Biden: “America is back”
It was the first ever US President appearance at the conference. In his speech, Biden announced close cooperation between the US and EU partners. The US would also stand by NATO and Article 5 on the duty of assistance should a member state be attacked: “An attack on one is an attack on all,” said Biden.
He clearly criticized the Russian government under Vladimir Putin: “The Kremlin is attacking our democracies and institutions,” said Biden. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Biden wants to work more closely with traditional US allies in Europe and Asia.