EU's Michel invites Biden to 'rebuild' trans-Atlantic alliance

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A top European Union official, in a phone call with Joe Biden on Monday, invited the U.S. president-elect to rebuild “a strong trans-Atlantic alliance” and attend a meeting with the bloc’s 27 national leaders next year, his office said.

European Council President Charles Michel congratulated Biden on his election and, in a 20-minute call on Monday evening, invited him to a special meeting in 2021 with EU heads in the bloc’s hub Brussels, which is also home to NATO headquarters.

“During the call President Michel proposed to rebuild a strong transatlantic alliance based on common interests and shared values,” Michel’s office said in a statement.

“He welcomed the strong commitment of President-elect Biden to America’s allies and his support for European cooperation.”

As the EU grapples with the historic setback of Brexit, the bloc’s statement also highlighted Biden’s support for preserving peace and stability on the sensitive Irish border despite Britain leaving the EU.

Biden has warned London it must honour its 2020 Brexit divorce deal with the EU as it protects peace on the island of Ireland, or else there will be no U.S. trade deal for Britain.

That comes as a welcome change of tone from Washington for the EU, which has often locked horns with Donald Trump who has praised Brexit, pulled the United States out from a global climate pact and has been openly hostile to NATO, lambasting its European allies for spending too little on defence.

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