President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, recipient of the World Leader for Peace and Security Award 2020, gave a speech at the European Parliament Plenary on the inauguration of the new US President Joe Biden January 20, 2021. She said:
“In all beginning there dwells a magic force. Jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne. I cannot help but think of this famous line of the poet Hermann Hesse when looking forward to the inauguration of Joe Biden in a few hours from now. Joe Biden’s oath will be a message of healing for a deeply divided nation. And it will be a message of hope for a world that is waiting for the U.S. to be back in the circle of like-minded states. This time-honoured ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy. And a resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House. And he will be standing next to Kamala Harris, the first woman to be Vice-President of the United States.
This is a historic achievement and this also makes this day very special. This new dawn in America is the moment we have been waiting for, so long. Europe is ready for a new start with our oldest and most trusted partner. And this is why the Commission recently has adopted a new, forward looking transatlantic agenda. And it focuses on where we can together join forces to push for global change – based on our common values, interests and global influence.
From climate change to health, from digitalisation to democracy – these are global challenges that need renewed and improved global cooperation. And the European Union and the United States must lead from the front and bring an alliance of like-minded partners with us. There is of course no greater need for global cooperation in the short term than in tackling the pandemic, which has been so devastating on both sides of the Atlantic. As you know, the European Union has been leading the global response since day one.
It is in this digital field that Europe has so much to offer the new government in Washington. The path we have taken in Europe can be an example for approaches at international level. As has long been the case with the General Data Protection Regulation. I can imagine, for example, a joint Trade and Technology Council, as a first step. Together we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: From data protection and privacy to the security of critical infrastructure. A body of rules based on our values: human rights and pluralism, inclusion and protection of privacy.
This day brings good news: The United States are back. And Europe stands ready. To reconnect with an old and trusted partner, to breathe new life in our cherished alliance.”