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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid