Europe (Parliament Politic Magazine) –President Joe Biden is set to embark on a significant journey to Europe this Sunday, where he will dedicate his time to nurturing alliances that have faced severe strain due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Upon his arrival in London at night, President Biden will have the privilege of meeting with King Charles III the following day. This meeting marks their first encounter since the monarch’s coronation, symbolizing the importance of the occasion.
The highlight of President Biden’s trip will be the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. This summit serves as the focal point for alliance leaders to engage in crucial discussions regarding the ongoing conflict and devise revised strategies for effectively addressing Russian aggression.
The Agenda Behind Joe Biden’s Trip to Europe
By undertaking this diplomatic journey, President Biden demonstrates his unwavering commitment to strengthening international alliances and fostering stability in the face of global challenges. The last destination on President Biden’s itinerary is Helsinki.
He is anticipated to commemorate the growing alliance, with Finland being the latest addition to NATO. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, expressed that this trip will serve as a platform to highlight the president’s exceptional leadership on the global stage. Here is a look at the trip of Joe Biden and the issues he will address:
President Biden will arrive in London on Sunday night and is anticipated to have a packed schedule of meetings on Monday. “There’s always a lot to talk about with the U.K.,” stated Max Bergmann, an esteemed former State Department official who currently heads the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
One of the key engagements for President Biden will be a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street. Sunak, who is facing an election by the end of next year, finds his Conservative Party significantly trailing behind the opposition in opinion polls.
During the annual NATO summit, President Biden will spend two days in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Apart from attending meetings with world leaders, he will also deliver a speech at Vilnius University. The NATO alliance has experienced a resurgence due to the conflict in Ukraine, prompting member countries to provide military support to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s invasion.
On Friday, President Biden defended his administration’s decision to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine, acknowledging that it was a challenging choice. The administration justified this move by emphasizing Ukraine’s commitment to using these controversial bombs responsibly.
However, it is expected that President Biden will face inquiries from allies. It is regarding why the United States will send a weapon to Ukraine. It is banned by more than two-thirds of NATO members due to its history of causing civilian casualties.
After spending two nights in Vilnius, President Biden makes a significant stop in Helsinki. This visit serves as both a celebratory victory lap and a poignant reminder of the unfinished matters at hand. In April, Finland, a Nordic country, became the 31st member of NATO, marking a pivotal moment in its history as it abandoned its nonalignment stance. This move not only showcased the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also highlighted how it has backfired within Europe.
Initially, Finland was set to join NATO alongside its neighboring country, Sweden. However, Sweden’s admission has hit a roadblock due to the concerns raised by Turkey and Hungary. Expanding NATO requires the unanimous consent of all its members, making progress on this front challenging.
To maintain the momentum for membership, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson recently paid a visit to the White House. He held discussions with President Biden. However, the prospects of resolving this issue during the Vilnius visit seem bleak.
The White House is promoting Biden’s upcoming visit to Helsinki as a significant event called the “U.S.-Nordic Leaders’ Summit.” This occasion stands in stark contrast to the previous visit by a U.S. president to Helsinki five years ago.
During that previous trip, Donald Trump conducted a news conference alongside Putin and dismissed concerns regarding Russian interference in his election triumph. However, this time, Biden is journeying to the city to showcase how his administration has steadfastly confronted Moscow and supports Western defenses.