US commitment to Ukraine a central question as Biden meets with EU heads during congressional chaos

WASHINGTON: Saddled with a dysfunctional Congress, President Joe Biden welcomed European Union leaders to the White Home on Friday with the promise that america can nonetheless ship tens of billions of {dollars}’ value of assist to wartime Ukraine and Israel.
Biden greeted European Council President Charles Michel and European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen by noting their unity.
“We stood collectively to help the good folks of Ukraine, and we stood collectively to deal with financial challenges,” Biden mentioned, and now the leaders would come collectively to again Israel following the Hamas assault and set up requirements in commerce with China.
The Cupboard Room sit-down got here at a second when home US political chaos might additional destabilize an more and more chaotic world. A lot of Biden’s shared priorities with the EU rely upon getting a price range via Congress – a tricky activity on condition that the Home lacks an elected speaker and variations with some Republican lawmakers over assist for Ukraine might pressure a federal authorities shutdown in November.
Together with addressing Ukraine’s efforts to repel Russia and the fallout from Hamas’ assault on Israel, the US and EU leaders are additionally determining learn how to handle local weather change, financial competitors with China and commerce and tax points.
Someday forward of his assembly with Biden, European Council President Michel expressed optimism that the US president can ship on his guarantees to assist arm and financially help Ukraine.
“I am actually assured and likewise I am grateful for Joe Biden’s private management,” Michel mentioned. “He’ll do all the pieces to make sure this help might be confirmed.”
The US president has cultivated a private relationship with Michel and von der Leyen, who calls Biden “pricey Joe.”
Each the EU and US delight themselves for being dedicated to democratic ideas, a supply of unity as they navigate Russia’s struggle in Ukraine and the struggle between Israel and Hamas. They’ve framed their help for Israel as a mirrored image of shared democratic values and harassed the significance of following worldwide legislation in army operations.
However the actuality of democracies is that overseas coverage agreements can change with elections and competing pursuits at dwelling can overshadow diplomacy. The 2 companions nonetheless have variations to reconcile on commerce, financial issues and the incentives for shifting to renewable power sources. The US and EU nonetheless have to finalize an settlement on environmentally sustainable metal and aluminum manufacturing with a view to keep away from the tariffs imposed throughout Donald Trump’s presidency.
Biden’s personal incentives on transferring away from fossil fuels have left Europe “somewhat bit uncomfortable,” mentioned Federico Steinberg, a visiting fellow on the Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research, a Washington-based assume tank.
Whereas the EU welcomes US efforts to “speed up the inexperienced transition,” Steinberg mentioned, some parts of Biden’s applications are protectionist in nature, discriminate towards commerce companions and undermine the World Commerce Group system that the EU want to revive.
However for now, the US and E.U. are targeted on the massive challenges of struggle and solidarity of their phrases and coverage decisions. Von der Leyen mentioned Thursday that the “core” of the White Home dialog can be about Ukraine and Israel.
“The winds are usually not simply blowing right this moment – right this moment they’re gale pressure,” she mentioned in remarks on the conservative Hudson Institute. “Our democracies are beneath sustained and systemic assault by those that abhor freedom.”
Along with sanctioning Russia, EU international locations have offered near $90 billion in help to Ukraine, together with $27 billion in army assist, von der Leyen mentioned. However there are open questions as as to whether the US dedication might waver after having offered 4 rounds of assist to Ukraine that complete $113 billion, a sum that features changing US army tools despatched to Kyiv.
“Now could be the time to double down,” von der Leyen mentioned Thursday.
In a separate interview with The Related Press, Michel mentioned the US and E.U. would nonetheless have to make progress on addressing the metal tariffs and defending the pursuits of European companies. However Michel mentioned each events are aligned on Ukraine, and Europe is “doing what’s wanted and we’re making ready the subsequent choices to mobilize an increasing number of funding, extra army tools for Ukraine and for the Ukrainians.”
Biden is predicted to ask for $105 billion in further funding Friday, together with $60 billion for Ukraine, a lot of which might replenish US weapons stockpiles offered earlier.
There’s additionally $14 billion for Israel, $10 billion for unspecified humanitarian efforts, $14 billion for managing the US-Mexico border and preventing fentanyl trafficking and $7 billion for the Indo-Pacific area, which incorporates Taiwan. The proposal was described by three folks aware of the main points who insisted on anonymity earlier than the official announcement.
However some Home Republicans have questioned the worth of assist to Ukraine on the ranges sought by Biden. The GOP ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after a deal to quickly maintain the federal government open via November 17. Republican lawmakers have didn’t discover a successor, resulting in considerations that Biden’s commitments with the EU might be in jeopardy.
The US president provided his problem to Congress in a Thursday night speech by outlining the core concept behind his spending proposal:
“American values are what make us a associate that nations need to work with. We put all that in danger if we stroll away from Ukraine, if we flip our backs on Israel.”

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