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From (virtual) Munich with harmony

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U.S. President Joe Biden urged the Western states during the virtual Munich Security Conference to stand united as democracies against autocratic rivals. Both U.S. and European leaders stressed their commitment to cooperation and strengthening multilateralism. However, beyond solemn rhetoric, there was little concrete change, the problems between the U.S. and the EU remain and the international rivals will do everything to sabotage this newfound harmony.

On the calendar of big international summits, the permanent fixtures at the beginning of the year are Davos (January) and Munich (February). This year, everything is different because of the pandemic, of course, so the physical Munich Security Conference was postponed to an unspecified date “later in the year.” Nevertheless, a small group of Western decision-makers met virtually for the so-called “Special Edition” on Feb. 19.

New President Joe Biden, who had participated three times as vice-president, said two years ago in Munich as a ‘private citizen’ that “America will be back” and used the virtual meeting to underline his claim as a “man of my word. America is back.” Biden is the first U.S. president to attend the conference and it is his first foreign policy ‘visit.’ His speech was a clear commitment to the transatlantic partnership, which entails both a........

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