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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs