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AP Interview: Germany seeks ‘new deal’ with US under Biden

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister says the election of Joe Biden as the next U.S. president is an opportunity for a “new deal” in trans-Atlantic relations that would revive the close cooperation between America and Europe, but also see Europeans shoulder greater responsibility on the world stage.

“Joe Biden’s election victory means one thing in particular: new opportunities for the trans-Atlantic partnership,” Heiko Maas told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday.

“We need a kind of new deal in the trans-Atlantic partnership, the basis of which would consist of responding to international challenges with international solutions and not with a policy of America First or Europe First.”

Maas, who has been Germany’s top diplomat since 2018, said relations with the United States over the past four years had often been one-sided.

“Decisions were made by the administration or in the White House, and they were then put in front of us and we had to deal with them,” he said. “That’s not the cooperation we wished for and still wish for.”

Maas said he hoped the incoming Biden administration would make the U.S. an “active player” on the world stage again and join others in tackling global challenges such as climate change, migration and the coronavirus pandemic.

But he acknowledged that this doesn’t mean Europeans can relax and let America take charge again.

“We in Europe must get used to taking on more responsibility, at least for our immediate and extended neighborhood,” Maas said, citing recent efforts to promote security in North Africa and the adjacent Sahel region as examples.

“In my view it won’t be the case that the United States will take on the role of global policeman again that we perhaps perceived it to have in the past,” he said, adding that Berlin is eager to hear what the Biden administration expects of its close allies.

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