LU researchers on what Biden will mean to Sweden and the EU

- in In English, Internationellt, Nyheter

Biden’s election brings high hopes to the EU regarding its cooperation with the US in several areas such as the Paris Climate Agreement, commitment to trade and multilateralism. EU leaders count on more efficient and fruitful cooperation with Biden compared to Trump, who made cooperation difficult in many policies from climate change to geopolitical concerns, says LU researchers.

Joe Biden has been elected as the next US president, with Kamala Harris as the next vice president. Donald Trump, however, has refused to concede and thereby acknowledge Biden’s victory, continuing to voice his scepticism of election fraud without legitimate evidence. Biden faces a challenging transition with all the complexities he will encounter next year, as the US is currently fighting one of the worst COVID-19 infection rates in the world. While implications of a new President in the White House will be prominent for Americans, how will the change of power affect the rest of the world? Lundagård has interviewed a few experts at Lund University regarding how the EU and Sweden may be affected by the outcome of the recent US Presidential election.

International relations

Johannes Lindvall, Professor at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, believes that the shift in power entails the emergence of a new US multilateral approach of diplomacy and international affairs in the international arena. “As a small country, Sweden supports international institutions and favours cooperation and multilateralism in international affairs, and the Biden administration will have a much more multilateral approach than the Trump administration”, Johannes Lindvall says.

He adds that “International trade will be an important matter. Under Trump, the Republicans have pursued protectionist trade policies. So have at least some groups within the Democratic Party in the past, so it will be interesting to see how the Biden administration approaches the issue of how to revise US trade policies.” However, the power shift will not drastically change bilateral relations, according to Johannes Lindvall. “Regardless of who sits in the White House, it is likely that collaboration between the US and Sweden in defence and security policy will continue.”

The economy

According to Lars Jonung, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Economics at Lund University, the flow of Swedish investments to the US will hardly be affected by the change of power. “Neither will the Swedish exports and imports to and from the US be affected. Biden’s campaign has not focused on foreign investments. The US market, one of the biggest in the world, will remain consistently attractive to Swedish investors and exporters.” he adds.

“Trump was an isolationist. Biden is likely to re-establish a stronger role of the US in world affairs”, Jonung explains and emphasizes that “A more constructive view on the US’ involvement in international organizations, cooperation, and treaties-, such as the IMF, and the Paris Climate Agreement, will be one of the positive outcomes of Biden’s plans.” says Lars Jonung.

The climate

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

The above tweet is one of many that portrays Trump’s attitude regarding climate change. Based on illusive and baseless beliefs about climate change during the Trump Administration, the US left the Paris Climate Agreement. Biden has made it clear that the US will re-join right the agreement soon after his inauguration.

Jakob Skovgaard at the Department of Political Science at Lund University, who focuses on climate change, states that it will be relatively easy for the US to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement. Biden has named climate change as one of the top four issues for the US, hoping for zero net emissions by 2050.  “If the Biden Administration manages to get most of the climate policies through it will put the 1.5-degree Celsius target of the Paris Climate Agreement in striking distance”, Jakob Skovgaard concludes.  This implies that the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement will be feasible in the near future with Biden’s ambitions, as the US produces some of the largest emissions in the world.

“Climate change is a global concern. There are strong demands and expectations from large parts of the US populations for climate-related actions, putting further pressure on Biden,” says Jakob Skovgaard. He further explains that “Biden has an opportunity now to increase the pace of actions and drive the necessary policies and regulations, which will enable further economic growth and development. Sweden, as a large investor in the US market, and the rest of the EU, will benefit from climate-friendly products if Biden successfully manages to adapt to the climate agenda”.

The US President has a key role in developing and sustaining fruitful relationships with the EU through multilateralism, safeguarding mutual interests, and cooperation. “While the US Congress, legislators, and other bodies also play important roles here, Biden’s strength and leadership capabilities to handle domestic challenges will come to the test, as he – simultaneously – has to bring the US out of isolation into international communities”, Jakob Skovgaard believes.

The outcome of the Presidential election, with Biden as President-elect, has clear implications for an increase of multilateralism, cooperation, a positive outlook for climate change in the US, whilst foreign investments remain unchanged. The power shift will however not be tangible for everyday Swedes, as the Presidential elections affect domestic and international frameworks more than it will on the daily lives of a Swedish individual.