EU - USA

French, EU image of US tarnished by Covid response

U.S. President Joe Biden speaking after the easing coronavirus restrictions at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S., June 4, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden speaking after the easing coronavirus restrictions at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S., June 4, 2021 REUTERS - KEVIN LAMARQUE

The United States' reputation as the leading global power has suffered in France and Germany because of Washington's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans.

Advertising

On the eve of President Joe Biden's trip to Europe, a poll by the German Marshall Fund and the Bertelsmann Foundation said he had not won back the standing of the United States as it was before Covid-19 struck.

China's reputation had risen slightly.

U.S. research papers released on 26 March highlight that the United States under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump could have avoided nearly 400,000 deaths with a more effective strategy.

According to the study: "The first three months of the Biden administration have not affected French and German views of U.S. influence in the world." 

"These numbers are in line with the results of the 2020 survey, which had fallen by about 10 points from the pre-pandemic numbers, to the advantage of China."

Meanwhile, the survey found the perception within the United States is that U.S. influence abroad has risen.

Repairing transatlantic ties

Biden kicks off his first European tour as president on Wednesday to attend G7, Nato and European Union summits.

He faces the challenge of repairing transatlantic ties damaged by Trump, whose withdrawal from international agreements and sharp criticism of Nato undermined European faith in Washington.

Among the 11 countries polled, only 51% of Germans see the United States as a reliable partner, rising to 60% in France, 67% in Britain and 76% in Poland.

Less than a quarter of Turks trust the United States. 

The study revealed, however, that most Americans regard the European Union as a reliable partner.

A majority of respondents surveyed still think that the United States should be involved in the defence and security of Europe, except in Sweden, where views are divided, and Turkey.

Conducted online between 29 March and 13 April, the survey sampled 1,000 adults in each of the 11 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning