Europe’s love (or not) for Biden — mapped

How close are Joe Biden and Europe, really? Well, it depends on who you’re asking.

While Biden’s election as U.S. president brought relief in (most) European capitals, it has done little to erode the distrust accumulated during the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. And for his part, the U.S. president isn’t all that happy with some of his European allies’ policy choices.

Introducing the Biden Compatibility Index. By crunching key policy positions and mixing in polling data when it was available, POLITICO’s visual data team has rated 29 European countries on a scale of 1 to 4 according to how much affinity they have for the U.S. president.

Are you splurging cash on defense, like a good NATO ally? Great move; you made Biden’s day. Have you gone ahead with a gas pipeline from Russia the U.S. opposes? That will make for some awkward conversations. And if you’re one of those countries that would have voted for Trump over Biden, don’t complain when the new guy gives you the stink eye.

Dying to know what the U.S. president is likely to think of your country? Look no further than this highly scientific ranking (and scroll down to the bottom for an explanation of what factors were used to cook it up):

First impressions? Could be worse. Only two countries, Malta and Cyprus, scored 1 on the index.

Overall, Biden has plenty of reasons to be happy with how Europe is behaving. Eastern European countries take the prize — their devotion to NATO, and their dislike of Russia, easily get them in the president’s good graces.

There is definitely room for improvement, though — especially when it comes to Europe’s stance toward China and the persecution of the Uyghur minority. The EU as a whole did impose sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights violations in the Xinjiang region. But only the Netherlands and Lithuania, along with the U.K., have followed the U.S. lead and officially declared the repression there a “genocide.”

And try as he might, Biden has had no luck convincing Germany to abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will ship natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. That’s enough to freeze even the most beaming of smiles.

Forgive, don’t forget

Even the greatest of love stories can encounter bumps on the road — and the past four years have been a bumpy ride for U.S.-Europe relations. While the path ahead might be smoother, the two sides still haven’t ironed out their differences.

The U.S.’s image in Europe has improved substantially after Biden’s inauguration — perhaps not surprisingly, considering his popularity on the Continent was high even prior to his election. With some notable exceptions, most countries would have voted for the Democratic candidate by overwhelming margins.

Whatever trust Biden may have regained, relations aren’t completely rosy. Trump’s time in office has left lingering doubts about the U.S.’s commitment to protect its allies.

A majority of Europeans believe that when it comes to security, their Continent needs to start looking out for itself. That may be easier said than done, given that most European NATO members still fall short of the alliance’s target of spending 2 percent of national GDP on defense.

How the Biden Compatibility Index was calculated

POLITICO assigned points to each country according to its stance on four policy issues: a national digital services tax, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, NATO defense spending targets and recognition of the human rights violations against Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region as acts of genocide. A higher score means that country’s policy is more aligned to the U.S.’s position. When polling data was available it was combined with the policy positions to calculate the country’s ranking. If the country had no explicit position on an issue or polling data was insufficient, that category did not contribute to the overall score.



Source by [author_name]