European sources reported Thursday that doubts about the summit came after US President Joe Biden’s decision to conclude a defense pact with Australia and the United Kingdom without consulting the European Union. The Netherlands was one of the countries that wanted the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) set up in June to continue.
France, in particular, has been so hot about its AUKUS defense pact that resulted in the EU nation losing a contract for submarines worth more than €30 billion. The spat between France and the United States has subsided somewhat since then, following a conversation between Biden and President Emmanuel Macron. But other events, such as the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, also shocked the European Union with America’s unilateral behavior.
There are ten working groups at the TTC that deal with topics such as technology cooperation, updating standards, examination of foreign investment and export controls. According to informed sources, the two economic superpowers have already managed to reach several agreements and an agreement on AI standards in recent weeks. This will then be announced in Pittsburgh.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said after a one-on-one meeting with his French counterpart that it will take some time to restore relations with France. “We realize this will require hard work, not just in words, but in deeds,” Blinken told reporters in Washington on Thursday. He also stressed that he “respects” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
French President Macron has been angered by the AUKUS security agreement between the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, which canceled the purchase of French submarines worth more than 30 billion euros. French ambassadors to the United States and Australia were recalled and Le Drian spoke of a “stab in the back”.
After US President Joe Biden called Macron on Wednesday, France promised to return the French ambassador to Washington next week.
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