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Europe Hopes for Reset Under Biden     11/24 06:16


   BERLIN (AP) -- German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Tuesday he hopes a 
reset of U.S.-European relations under the Biden administration can end years 
in which Europe was mainly concerned with "damage control."

   Maas' counterpart from Portugal, which will have taken over the European 
Union presidency when Joe Biden is inaugurated, said Europe wants to be treated 
as a "full and equal partner" rather than an enemy of the U.S.

   Biden's victory over President Donald Trump has been greeted with relief in 
Europe, where differences with the outgoing administration ranged from trade 
tensions to defense spending, relations with China and how to handle Iran's 
nuclear program.

   Biden has made clear that he wants to "repair" the trans-Atlantic 
relationship, "and that is urgently necessary," Maas said at a panel event in 

   Recent years, he said, were an exercise in "damage control" on international 
diplomacy and issues such as climate change. "Enough of that --- with this, we 
are not doing justice to the challenges we face at present."

   "The result, because the West wasn't working together any more, was that in 
many issues a vacuum arose that was used by China or Russia," Maas said. But he 
cautioned that the Europeans "will have to get out of our seats" to grasp new 
opportunities, and offer to do more themselves in their immediate neighborhood 
as part of what he has termed a " new deal " with the U.S.

   Germany holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of December, when 
it will hand over to Portugal.

   Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva called for new talks with 
the U.S. on trade relations. And he noted that a major objection to the Trump 
administration's approach was its language.

   "We were permanently treated by our American friends, and the Trump 
administration, not as friends and allies but as adversaries or even enemies," 
he said. "And we were always asked to choose: either you are with us, the 
Americans, or you are with China."

   "Of course we are with the Americans, but not as the minor partner, not as a 
follower ... it's a question of being a full and equal partner of the United 
States," Santos Silva said. Europe's interests include good relations with all 
world regions, he added.

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