European leaders welcome Biden with enthusiasm

Leaders across Europe have sent the new administration in Washington their well wishes in the 24 hours since Joe Biden took the oath of office.

French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Spanish Prime Minster Pedro Sanchez tweeted to the new President and Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Perhaps no capital was more enthusiastic about the change of power than Brussels, where EU leaders Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel addressed the European Parliament.

"Once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House," Commission President Von der Leyen told European lawmakers.

The EU appears eager to rebuild transatlantic ties that soured during the four years of Donald Trump's presidency. Brussels and Washington were often at odds over issues related to trade, security and the global response to COVID-19.

EU Council President Charles Michel invited Biden to reset relations.  

"Let's build a new founding pact for a stronger Europe, for a stronger America, and for a better world," he said.

Inauguration buzz could be felt in Germany too. Europe's longest-serving head of state, Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested both sides could now see eye to eye

"There is simply far more scope for political agreement with President Biden," she said. "That is clear just looking at the executive orders he signed yesterday. We will once again work together in the WHO, on the Paris Climate Accord and on issues of migration, we will likely have a more similar view."

Europe is likely to find a friend in Joe Biden during his four years in the White House. Beyond committing to rejoin a number of European-supported accords, the tenured politician has chosen experienced European envoys who promise diplomacy over politics.

"There will be a more business-as-usual way of handling issues," said Jelena Milic, Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies. "I think the Biden team will most likely appoint a different type of ambassador to the EU, to Germany, or Brussels."

But while Donald Trump's presidency was sometimes a diplomatic nightmare for western Europe, many in the Eastern part of the bloc felt otherwise.

Cooperation between Poland, Hungary, and the US increased. Their nationalistic leaders looked to one another as allies.

However, even these heads of state are now ready to work with new administration.

"The past four years have proved that the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between the USA and Hungary holds great potential in many areas," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote Joe Biden in a letter. "I can assure you that the Hungarian Government remains fully committed to further fostering Hungarian-U.S. relations."

The Coronavirus pandemic will likely keep the new US president away from Europe for the time being, but calls with European leaders are reportedly already on Biden's schedule.

Some in the UK have a suggested a possible state visit with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to underscore the two nations "special relationship" later this Spring.