US President Joe Biden welcomed the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to the White House, with whom they pledged to create a cleaner economy in the future and an alliance in efforts to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.
According to RTV Slovenia’s correspondent from Washington, Andrej Stopar, Biden and von der Leyen agreed on the strength and dynamism of the ties between the European Union and the United States, and at the same time it was obvious that they each looked at cooperation through their own prism. For President Biden, the most important issue at the moment is energy security, which is inextricably linked to the development of the war in Ukraine.
“We see the European Union as a major contributor to overall and economic security. I think our nations could and do benefit greatly from it. We have supported the brave Ukrainians, we are helping them, and we have introduced historic measures that undermine and complicate Putin’s ability to finance this war. We supported European energy security – I remember we discussed joint efforts to ensure enough liquefied gas. We supplied twice as much.” said the US president.
“You helped us a lot when we wanted to get rid of our dependence on Russian fossil fuels, you helped us increase supplies of liquefied natural gas, you helped us through the energy crisis,” von der Leyen also told Biden. “We are partners in supporting Ukraine, which is fighting for freedom and independence. We are making Russia pay for this horrible war. We are closely connected, we are defending our values. Today we will also talk about the law to reduce inflation and I think it is very good, that there is such a large investment in new and clean technologies. We want to align this with our green investment plan.” she said even before the closed-door talks.
The President of the European Commission emphasized economic cooperation, especially the access of European companies to the market for the development of new energy technologies. “I think it is very important for us to join forces in a key area of the future, namely in the fight against climate change and limiting global warming. It was and is important for us to join forces where we complement each other, in the development of the production of clean technologies on both sides. I think we could do it in three steps: with electric vehicles, with access to the American market, with critical raw materials, by strengthening supply chains and with an open dialogue about initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic,” she said.
Before the talks, the US president welcomed her and reminded her that two years ago he told her that relations between the US and the EU would change after the end of the term of the previous US government.
Cooperation in the supply of critical materials
After meeting with Biden, Von der Leyen said they started a dialogue about subsidies to American companies from the American Anti-Inflation Act, which she said is important because of the large investments in green energy. According to her, at the meeting, which she described as very good, they also agreed to cooperate for the access of critical materials from Europe to the American market.
“As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the US and the EU have taken two important steps, starting to work towards an agreement on critical materials and secure supply chains for batteries in the EU and secure access to the US market. At the same time, a dialogue on clean energy incentives will begin ,” said the commissioner.
This is also confirmed by the longer joint statement of both sides after the meeting. The latter says that the EU and the US have taken an important step forward in the trade dispute over US subsidies for green technologies, so they will start negotiating an agreement on raw materials for electric car batteries.
The joint statement says the EU and the US are committed to solving the climate crisis, accelerating the global clean energy economy and building resilient, secure and diverse clean energy supply chains. Both sides acknowledge that these goals are at the heart of the US De-Inflation Act and the EU’s Green Investment Plan.
“We intend to immediately start negotiations on a targeted agreement on critical raw materials so that those sourced or processed in the EU can count towards meeting the clean vehicle requirements, which is a condition for the clean vehicle tax credits of the Inflation Reduction Act . Cooperation is also needed to reduce unwanted strategic dependencies in these supply chains and to ensure their diversification and development with trusted partners.” it says in the statement.
Biden and von der Leyna also agreed to finish negotiations on a global deal on steel and aluminum by October this year.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, the statement confirms the continuation of aid to the attacked country, namely as long as necessary, and the same with the continuation of sanctions against Russia. The statement emphasizes efforts to reduce European dependence on Russian energy sources, including by purchasing gas from the United States.
“We will continue to work together for energy security and sustainability in Europe by diversifying sources, reducing energy consumption and reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels,” among other things, it says in the statement.