Transatlantic relations as far apart as ever

By Om Ryong

Disputes and friction are growing in several fields between the EU and the US that maintain partnership.

Surfacing is the friction surrounding the issue of European defence before anything else.

In April the European Parliament approved the plan for raising fund worth €13 billion for the development of weapon systems in the 2021-2027 period and founding a PESCO to coordinate military cooperation between member nations as part of the efforts to carry out its own defence programme.

The US denounced it, saying that through the independent defence policy the EU seeks for a change that is likely to jeopardize the integration process which has been pushed for decades within the framework of the military alliance, called NATO.

The EU dismissed it as ungrounded, insisting that the implementation of its own defence plan will help EU member nations fulfil their commitments to NATO more properly and also the military bloc benefit from the EU’s collective efforts for defence.

Some European countries think that dependence on the US in the field of defence can never guarantee European security.

The abrogation of the Russia-US Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty (INF Treaty) has forced the EU to regard the building of self-defence capacity as an urgent matter that brooks no further delay.

Both sides also have taken different attitudes to the Iran nuclear deal and anti-Cuban sanctions.

Contrary to the intention of the US, which ratchets up sanctions and pressure against Iran, the EU supports the Iran nuclear deal. Recently when the US listed the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a “foreign terror organization”, the spokesman for the EU expressed its stance to distance itself from the US.

The EU also expresses opposition to the US intention to expand sanctions against Cuba by fully setting the Helmz-Burton Act in motion.

These sanctions will reportedly inflict the greatest damage to European businesses that have close economic and trade relations with Cuba.

The EU warned the US not to take any measures which would harm its interests, expressing its attitude to protect its interests including the investment in Cuba and its economic activities.

Experts argue that the US has invoked the Helmz-Burton Act in a bid to extract concessions out of the EU in trade negotiations by putting pressure on it.

Most recently the US released a list of EU-made imports worth US$11 billion on which tariffs would be imposed, saying the EU’s payment of subsidies to Airbus, Europe’s airplane maker, has adverse effect on it. The EU responds to it by forging close economic ties and cooperation with China, which has been pitted against the US over tariffs on trade.

Analysts estimate that the contradictions in interests will widen the gap in transatlantic relations.

(Source: The Pyongyang Times - July 10, 2019)