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Halver’s column: Europe shouldn’t be too happy about a US President Joe Biden

With a US President Biden, calm would basically return to the geopolitically shaken box. While Trump’s frozen transatlantic relationship is thawing, the hot pot of the trade war is at least being taken off the stove. Nowhere would the relief be greater than in Europe, whose export machine lacks free trade fuel.

So does it come to a happy ending like in a fairy tale? Unfortunately, fairy tales end exactly when everything is good, e.g. the rich prince marries the poor peasant girl. And why? Because the Brothers Grimm already knew that the problems only start after the wedding. They didn’t want to write about this disgusting reality. The illusion should not be destroyed.

And if you don’t want to be my brother, I’ll break your head in

Europe too should not perpetuate the politically fairytale moment as the standard. Yes, there is more international cooperation again, more reliability and less shooting from the hip. But under Biden there will be no American 180 ° turn back to the transatlantic happy hour.

Biden likes Europe, but it’s not love. Europe was loved during the Cold War, when it was the front region of the Warsaw Pact. Today the Pacific region is strategically much more important and therefore more sought-after. In this respect, Biden will pursue rational relationship optimization at the transatlantic level with a lot of dowry for himself.

So if America geopolitically appreciates the Europeans, the EU will have to provide something in return. Joint action against China is not only desired, but expected. The diplomatic tactics of Europe between the US and China is not appreciated in Washington. And when Huawei builds the European 5G networks and the Baltic Sea pipeline continues, there will be no public verbal derailments via Twitter. But the new US administration will let us know with a friendly smile who has the upper hand. And there are no discounts on NATO contributions even under a new presidency.

In any case, right now America is closer to one’s own shirt than European rock. Biden will first have to overcome the internal political division and dedicate himself to the medical and economic fight against Corona. To this end, he thinks quite “Trumpist”: To create jobs, he propagates Buy American and production at home, not abroad. Even “nicely worded” tariffs are not excluded. Biden has nothing against German cars when they are screwed together by American workers in the USA. So that we export every cuckoo clock made in Germany to the other side of the Atlantic without restraint, as in the past.

Make Europe finally great

Does Europe really want to look anxiously at the US presidential election every four years like a rabbit at the snake and hope that only one Europe-friendly candidate is sitting in the Oval Office?

Europe must finally stop being just an anvil in geopolitical terms. We have to be a hammer. It is certainly not easy to end the cacophony of 27 EU countries and speak with one voice. It is much easier for the hegemon America. But do we have an alternative? Despite the differences within Europe, let’s stick to an old military adage: “The strongest bond of friendship is a common enemy.”

And let us please stop defining ourselves only as a moral superpower, a Europe of hearts. In a world that is becoming more authoritarian, in which everyone is next to himself, throwing cotton balls does not give you any geopolitical influence. Sometimes you can also show what a rake is. One often has the impression that European hyper morality is being used as an alibi not to make painful decisions, even if they are urgently needed to upgrade Europe. Europe just doesn’t want to hurt anyone internally or externally. But you can’t please everyone.

Since America no longer takes us by the hand in economic and trade policy, we have to lead ourselves. Instead of warmed up socialist ideology, the sleeves of the market economy must be rolled up again. How often do we have to repeat that the state economy has always been the highway to hell, on which prosperity hits the wall.

Business literacy must not become a dirty word. Innovation policy, competitiveness, yes, the performance principle cannot be ignored in a selfish and competitive world. Last but not least, it is about the economic opportunities of the new mega-topic climate protection. After we have let digitization slide, we have to be careful that Biden’s vision of a Green America doesn’t buy the divorce from us.

The ECB alone cannot save us. If it degenerates into the financier of the European state economy, (economic) political idleness and refusal to reform are also rewarded.

If Europe does not manage to turn around, the long underperformance of European stocks compared to the American competition will not only continue, but intensify.

Incidentally, the innovation underperformance is also clear when looking at the underperformance of the TecDAX compared to the US technology index Nasdaq Composite.

Europe must see the 2020 US election as the final wake-up call. Hopefully Brussels has not turned off the alarm. Because then we oversleep the future even more.

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