Patience with the Biden administration among senior EU officials seems to be running thin, with many accusing the President of war profiteering amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
While European economies teeter on the brink of a recession as a result of the war in Ukraine — and as winter descends on Europe’s gas-starved citizens — several EU officials have slammed the White House for legislation that offers tax credits to those who “Buy Amercian,” while hiking the price of the gas the U.S. provides, the New York Post reports.
Speaking to POLITICO, one senior EU official explained, “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.”
“The explosive comments — backed in public and private by officials, diplomats and ministers elsewhere — follow mounting anger in Europe over American subsidies that threaten to wreck European industry,” the outlet reports, adding that “the poisoning of the atmosphere among Western allies” must be pleasing the Kremlin.
“We are really at a historic juncture,” the official said.
He warned that public opinion on both the war and the alliance with the U.S. are shifting amid trade disruptions and soaring energy costs.
“America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries,” he stated.
Appearing on French TV on Wednesday, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said that the Biden administration is charging the EU four times what it is paying for the same product.
“The United States sells us its gas with a multiplier effect of four when it crosses the Atlantic,” he stated, according to The Post. “Of course, the Americans are our allies … but when something goes wrong it is necessary also between allies to say it.”
Josep Borrell, chief diplomat for the EU, called on Washington to acknowledge Europe’s concerns.
“Americans — our friends — take decisions which have an economic impact on us,” he pleaded during an interview with POLITICO.
But, so far, the administration has refused to do so, repeating its tired Putin trope instead.
“The rise in gas prices in Europe is caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s energy war against Europe, period,” a spokesperson for Biden’s National Security Council told POLITICO, adding that exports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. to Europe “increased dramatically and enabled Europe to diversify away from Russia.”
It’s little conciliation for a continent that is facing blackouts and freezing temperatures.
The EU is particularly concerned with Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which it sees as a direct threat to Europe’s economy — a fact Biden has reportedly ignored.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is very worrying,” Dutch Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher told POLITICO. “The potential impact on the European economy is very big.”
Tonino Picula, who leads the transatlantic relationship for the European Parliament, agrees.
“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” he said.
A whopping $369 billion industrial subsidy program included in the IRA and aimed at supporting green industries has caused some in the EU to question whether the U.S. can still be considered an ally.
“The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”
According to an official from France’s foreign affairs ministry, the subsidies are “discriminatory” and “will distort competition.”
And Germany isn’t any happier with the arrangement.
“We are experiencing a creeping crisis of trust on trade issues in this relationship,” said German MEP Reinhard Bütikofer.
And then there’s all “the money [the U.S. is] making on weapons,” another EU diplomat argued, adding “all this cash on gas” might be “a bit too much.”
“It’s not good, in terms of optics, to give the impression that your best ally is actually making huge profits out of your troubles,” the diplomat stated.
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