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Interview: Irish MEP questions purpose of Biden's European tour (update)

Xinhua English


by Alexander James Wright

BRUSSELS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Although Joe Biden has chosen Europe to be the destination of his first overseas visit since taking office, this highly-anticipated trip will be unwelcome by at least one member of the European Parliament, who has a strong message for the U.S. president.

"Stay at home," Mick Wallace said in an interview with Xinhua. "If he was coming to talk about peace rather than war then it would be fine but unfortunately U.S. involvement with the EU involves more war than peace."

After joining a summit of the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries in Cornwall, the United Kingdom, from June 11 to 13, Biden will head to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit and a meeting with the heads of the European Union (EU) next week.

Wallace, a former Irish property developer who is now an independent member of the European Parliament, holds the view that the EU has been subservient to U.S. for far too long.

"It's like as if Europe is weaker or something, especially on foreign policy, where they have been very reluctant to stand up to the Americans on many issues. Obviously, the anti-Russian rhetoric has been ratcheted up a notch in the past six months, as has the anti-China rhetoric," the Irish MEP said.

The so-called "rules-based international order," an oft-repeated slogan of the U.S. foreign policy, is without any real meaning, noted Wallace, deploring Washington's efforts to block a United Nations (UN) Security Council vote on a ceasefire in Gaza.

"When 14 members of the UN Security Council voted in support of a Gaza ceasefire, four times the Americans blocked this ... That's America's idea, obviously, of rules-based international order," he said.

Analysts believe that Biden's trip to Europe is an attempt to shore up support from Europe on vital issues, including on security concerns with Russia and heated competition with China. After leaving Brussels, the U.S. president is set to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Geneva, Switzerland.

"There's no doubt Biden is looking for support from the European Union. And the support of the European Union is very important to America. (Former U.S. President Donald) Trump probably wasn't as fixated on it, but for most American presidents, including Biden, it's a big issue," Wallace said.

Wallace appears to be one of those most vocal critics in the European Parliament of the EU's foreign policy towards Russia and China, which he says lacks strategic sovereignty and mainly serves the U.S.' interest.

Last Sunday, he tweeted that the "Racist anti-China rhetoric that is being tolerated in the European Parliament is a sad reflection on the EU and undermines the 'European values'."

The U.S. sees China as a threat to American security, said Wallace, but China is a challenge "to America's financial supremacy, not to its security."

"As I've said before, there are no Chinese warships in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are American warships in the South China Sea. So, who's threatening who? Who's a threat to whom?" Wallace concluded. Enditem