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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid