U.S. President Joe Biden told European leaders that he is “determined” to “earn back” their trust after four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“I know the past few years have strained and tested our Transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined, determined to re-engage with Europe, consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership,” he assured in his first public address to the European leaders on Friday.

In his video message to the annual Munich Security Conference, President Biden asserted his administration’s commitment to restart the European Union-brokered nuclear talks with Iran and the U.S. reentry to the Paris Climate Accord.

Biden also rejected President Trump’s doctrine of putting “America First” in economic and foreign policy decisions. “Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy address since taking office that he rejected the ‘America First’,” the Associated Press reported.

The French broadcaster EuroNews reported President Biden’s remarks at the Munich conference:

In his first big appearance on the global stage, U.S. President Joe Biden called on fellow world leaders to show together that “democracies can still deliver” as he underscored his administration’s determination to quickly turn the page on Donald Trump’s “America First” approach.

Biden, in a virtual address Friday to the annual Munich Security Conference, said it was a critical time for the world’s democracies to “prove that our model isn’t a relic of our history.”

“We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world,” Biden said in the address just after taking part in his first meeting as president with fellow Group of Seven world leaders.

That debate is “between those who argue that – given all of the challenges we face, from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic – autocracy is the best way forward and those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting those challenges,” he added.

The U.S. president pledged to repair a U.S.-Europe relationship that had become strained under Trump who repeatedly questioned the value of historic alliances.

Biden announced that he’s halted a Trump administration plan to withdraw American troops from Germany and cap the number of U.S. forces able to be based there.

“Collective sighs of relief could be heard from many European capitals Saturday after U.S. President Joe Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy address since taking office that he rejected the ‘America First’ and transactional approach of his predecessor and urged cooperation among Western allies,” The Associated Press noted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was thrilled to welcome President Biden on the European stage. “This year the prospects for multilateralism are much better than they used to be and that has a lot to do with Joe Biden,” Chancellor Merkel said at the conference.

German mainstream media cheered Biden for the Munich speech. “Biden gave exactly the speech that many Europeans wanted to hear – an America that pats you on the shoulders, that doesn’t criticize or demand,” Germany’s leading political weekly Der Spiegel commented.

“Will it stay that way? For the moment, it was certainly the right message: It was primarily intended to patch up the injuries of the Trump years,” the weekly added.

“Coming after the nadir of Trumpism, that looks like the beginnings, at least, of trans-Atlantic renewal,” the German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle commented.

According to the German broadcaster, there was no longer a basis for America’s post-war leadership of the Western hemisphere. “Biden is well aware that on neither side of the Atlantic are citizens longing for restoration of an — arguably illusory — Western order in which the US led, materially as well as morally, and Europe followed,” the state-run broadcaster argued.

This could be a reference to the Franco-German push to create a dedicated military structure directly under the EU’s command. The arrangement would lead to a European army, dominated by Paris and Berlin, to pursue EU’s geostrategic interest.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at the Munich conference, asserted this Franco-German doctrine of “European Strategic Autonomy.”

“We need more of Europe to deal with our neighborhood,” he declared “I think it is time for us to take much more of the burden for our own protection.”


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