News / Europe

EU Sends Mixed-Reacts To US Midterm Elections

Lisa Bryant

The European Union offered a fractured reaction to the Republican victory in the midterm elections. Europeans are watching closely to see what - if any difference - the results will make in transatlantic relations.

Few regions cheered Barack Obama's electoral victory two years ago more loudly than in Europe. After US-European relations chilled under his Republican predecessor George W. Bush, generally left-leaning Europe hoped for closer transatlantic ties.

Europeans are less certain today, however, after Republican candidates swept to victory in the US House of Representatives and captured new governorships and key state seats.

Marco Incerti of the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies says many Europeans also don't understand why the American counterparts appeared to rebuke Mr. Obama's policies by voting for the rival Republican parties. He says Europeans are looking particularly at President Obama's accomplishments during his tenure to date, including passing health care reform in the United States.

"I think there is a bit of perplexity on the European side if only because, certainly by European standards, the Obama administration has delivered quite a lot and so that in that respect seeing that people consider he has not done enough, from our point of view, is quite interesting," he said.

Philippe Moreau Defarges, an analyst at the French Institute for International Relations in Paris says that today, Europeans are also disappointed in Mr. Obama after their enthusiastic response to his presidency. But Mr. Obama's presidency has failed to deliver on some issues Europeans hold dear - like tough climate change legislation and a binding global treaty to cut greenhouse gasses.

"There was a disappointment mostly about foreign policy," he said. "Many Europeans thought Barack Obama would change the US foreign policy and Barack Obama has in fact not changed US foreign policy, especially in Afghanistan."

But Europeans are also looking warily at the new Republican politicians voted into power. Some view the conservative grassroots Tea Party movement particularly skeptically - or with derision.

But others like Thierry Mariani, a deputy from France's ruling conservative UMP party, Union for a Popular Movement, have found the Tea Party inspiring. Mariani visited the US state of Colorado during the midterm campaigning.

Speaking to French radio, Mariani said French lawmakers should listen to the Tea Party's message - and pay more attention to citizens' concerns in their own country.

Some analysts draw parallels between the Tea Party movement and the recent rise of far-right parties in European countries like Sweden and the Netherlands. But Incerti of the European policy center believes the European far right is ultimately very different.

"They tend to be much more nationalistic," said Incerti. "They tend to, no matter how badly defined, have a government program, certain policies they want to push. In a sense it's a more structured, more top-down approach compared to the Tea Party movement."

It may be too early to say what tangible difference the Republican victory will make to transatlantic relations. Some analysts fear it may affect issues like arms control and relations with Russia and Turkey.

French analyst Moreau Defarges says many European politicians are watching US events with a certain amount of anxiety. Brussels-based analyst Incerti is not sure the Republican victory will make much impact on European-US relations.

European heads of state will be able to test the fallout later this month, when they meet with Obama at a summit in Lisbon.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid