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Belgium’s FM warns US: ‘Weak European partners bring advantages to competitors’

US President Joe Biden’s “Inflation Reduction Act” is a comprehensive support plan for the North American energy transition. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, called the plan protectionist and said it violated international trade agreements. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed in a recent meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Belgian Foreign Minister Lahbib held bilateral talks with US Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Trade Wendy Sherman and Don Graves on Tuesday, reiterating to them the concerns of the European Union and Belgium on the issue.

“I am glad that the United States is taking this path, but if it weakens our European partners, it plays into the hands of our adversaries,” the foreign minister told Habib in Washington.

From her point of view, the United States and the European Union are striving for the same goals. They want to diversify their economy and complete their energy transition in a changing geopolitical context: “This requires actions that should be discussed together.”

During conversations with US officials, Lahbib also indicated that a complete detachment of Europe or Belgium from China is not realistic: “The country remains an important trading partner and is at the same time a partner, a competitor, and a systemic competitor.”