US and EU kiss and make up over tech collaboration and trade

A new thing called the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) met for the first time yesterday and made vows to collaborate more closely over many areas of tech.

The formation of this new club comes just a couple of weeks after the US got chummy with the UK and Australia over military and technological cooperation, leading to considerable butthurt on the part of one of the EU’s biggest members as well as remoaners more generally. There was a sense that the US-EU relationship had been somewhat neglected for a while, so something needed to be done to get things back on track.

“The European Union and the United States reaffirm the TTC’s objectives to: coordinate approaches to key global technology, economic, and trade issues; and to deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations, basing policies on shared democratic values,” opened the joint statement emanating from the meeting.

While the East Asian geopolitical implications of the TTC are not as overt as with AUKUS, every new US diplomatic tie is made very much with China in mind. Talk of ‘shared democratic values’ is clear diplomatic code for standing in contrast to autocracies such as China or Russia. The formation of this club seems to be a signal that things are just fine in the North Atlantic, thank you very much.

As the name indicates, there is a heavy emphasis on the tech sector in this new arrangement, but geopolitics is never far away. We intend to cooperate on the development and deployment of new technologies in ways that reinforce our shared democratic values, including respect for universal human rights, advance our respective efforts to address the climate change crisis, and encourage compatible standards and regulations,” continued the statement.

“We intend to cooperate to effectively address the misuse of technology, to protect our societies from information manipulation and interference, promote secure and sustainable international digital connectivity, and support human rights defenders.” Are you getting the picture?

The meeting concluded with various vows and action points, which will only be meaningful when implemented, but on the whole this new group must be viewed as a positive. One of the biggest casualties of the Trump presidency was diplomacy between Western allies, which created a vacuum for those with other plans for the world to exploit. For all his many failings Biden seems to be getting those relationships back on track, which is reassuring.

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