FILE PHOTO: U.S. and European Union flags are pictured during the visit of Vice President Mike Pence to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

European Union members debated on Monday how best to “renew and reinvigorate” transatlantic relations after the departure of the U.S. President, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.

Iran Press/Europe: Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries considered five broad policy areas on which they see greater opportunities for cooperation when Joe Biden takes over as president after four years of strained ties since Donald Trump introduced his “America First” policy.

“The arrival of a new administration and congress ... is an opportunity for the EU to renew and reinvigorate its strategic partnership with the US, based on mutual interests,” said the document prepared for envoys.

“The EU should agree on a set of concrete priorities on which to engage the new US leadership,” it said.

Despite divisions between EU members - with France seeking more autonomy from Washington and eastern Europe keen to keep the United States close - there was broad agreement on the focus areas on Monday, an EU official said.

They were: health, including fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting economic recovery, combating climate change, promoting peace and security, and upholding shared values, including a belief in multilateral rules.

EU leaders are expected to debate transatlantic relations when they convene for a summit on Dec. 10-11.

The European Commission and the EU’s foreign service, the EEAS, have prepared another document that would rebuild ties on common fronts, including digital regulation, and consider how to handle a more internationally assertive China.

The strategies by EU governments and the EU’s executive Commission underline optimism in Europe that a Biden presidency will mark a new chapter reinforcing EU priorities on combating climate change, nuclear proliferation, and human rights.


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