Joe Biden was sworn in Wednesday as the 46th United States President, taking the reins of a country in crisis. But his task on the global stage will be daunting, too.
World leaders reacted to Biden’s inauguration by offering congratulations, jockeying for position at the forefront of his foreign policy agenda, and in some cases pleading for the reversal of his predecessor’s policies.
Among most messages was a palpable sense of relief, as the international community embraced Biden’s pledge to reenter a series of global pacts and organizations that President Donald Trump cut loose.
Here’s what leaders have said so far.
“Once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday, leaving no uncertainty about her verdict on Trump’s relationship with the bloc.
“This new dawn in America is the moment we’ve been waiting for so long. Europe is ready for a new start with our oldest and most trusted partner,” she said in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
Von der Leyen said Biden’s inauguration would “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 US to be back in the circle of like-minded states.”
On Twitter, she added: “The United States is back. And Europe stands ready. To reconnect with an old and trusted partner, to breathe new life into our cherished alliance.”
Biden has signaled a warmer partnership with Europe than Trump, who frequently criticized the EU on trade during his administration. His attacks on some European leaders led to frosty scenes at a number of summits.
“From our perspective, Trump saw Europe as an enemy,” a senior European diplomat told CNN last week. “The lasting impact of ‘America First’ is the US having fewer friends in Europe.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also offered her “warmest congratulations,” adding that she looks forward to a “new chapter” in Germany’s relationship with the US, according to a tweet from her spokesman Steffen Seibert.
And Germany’s President expressed relief that Biden would be sworn in Wednesday, calling it “a good day for democracy.” “In the United States, (democracy) held up against a lot of pressure,” Frank Walter Steinmeier said in a statement. “Despite internal hostility, America’s institutions have proven strong – election workers, governors, judiciary, and Congress. I am relieved that Joe Biden is sworn in as President today and coming into the White House. I know that this feeling is shared by many people in Germany.”