Doing away with diplomatic niceties, the top European Union officials have welcomed the gains made by the Democrats in the US midterm elections. Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans hailed the electoral results while attacking the Trump administration for its “racism” and “rudeness.” “Inspired by voters in the U.S. who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination,” Timmermans wrote on Twitter.
EU Economic Commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, also cheered the Democrats winning the House majority. “The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering,” Moscovici said.
The “EU chiefs abandoned all pretence of political neutrality,” British newspaper Daily Express noted. The EU top brass had been concerned by “Trump’s criticisms of the EU, including praise for Britain’s decision to leave the bloc, his policies in the Middle East and threats of a trade war against the Union,” the newspaper added.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas used the occasion to call for a stronger political union between the European nation states. “On this side of the Atlantic, we need to find a response to the “America First” slogan.” Maas said, “It is clear to us that it can only be ‘Europe United.’ We, as Europeans, must get closer together.”
German car manufacturers expect the Democrats to derail President Trump’s plan to place tariffs on vehicles being imported from Europe. “German car companies rejoice over a weakened Trump,” the leading German newspaper Die Welt reported.
“Many Democrats see Trump’s threats to raise tariffs on European automobiles as being too extreme. It is very much possible that [Democrats] will fight this [tariff] plan, something that could have a dramatic impact on German economy,” the newspaper explained.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle was disappointed that the “midterm elections did not lead to a broad rejection of Trumpism” despite the US President being “even more toxic, vile and vicious than he was during his campaign” two years ago. Given the recent surge in popular nationalism across Europe, the broadcaster was disappointed that the US midterms failed to deal a decisive blow the President Trump’s agenda:
The bad news for the country and the world is that this outcome also signals the normalization of Trumpism, which will surely be noted by the various “mini-Trumps” all over the globe. Because of that and because we could not pretend – unlike 2016 – to not know what Trumpism is, the outcome of these midterms in some way stings even more than Donald Trump’s win two years ago.
German business newspaper Handelsblatt was more sober in its assessment. “Hopes that the elections will rein in President Donald Trump are likely to be dashed,” the newspaper commented. “Europeans on the left and right, apart from right-wing populists, of course, hope that American voters will usher in a change in US politics. Europe is much too weak to counter the raucous policies of this president.”
British newspaper The Guardian hailed the DNC electoral gains, claiming that “Democrats have ended the era of unchecked Republican power and can now frustrate his agenda on everything from tax cuts to healthcare and immigration.”
The “best hope for the Democrats’ future will be the arrival of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill,” London-based newspaper Independent declared, referring to the newly elected congresswoman from Queens.
The lone voice of support for President Trump came from Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. “Congratulations to President Trump for the seats he won at the Senate and those he held in crucial states against everyone: left-wing journalists, actors, singers, directors and pseudo-intellectuals,” he said.
Despite the upbeat mood in Brussels over the electoral gains made by the Democrats, the expectations of the European ruling class have not been fulfilled. As the UK business daily Financial Express explained:
What liberal Europe had hoped for from the midterms was a clear indication that Mr Trump was heading for defeat in 2020. The plan then could be to “wait him out” — to hope that Iran can be persuaded to stick to its nuclear deal with the international community, that the next president will take the US back into the Paris climate change accord, and that the fires started by Mr Trump’s trade wars can be contained.
Those hopes have failed to materialize this election cycle. The relentless barrage of hostile media coverage, celebrity activism, and political smear campaign have failed to diminish US President’s popularity among his core base. The strategy of waiting out President Trump appears to be more risky than ever for the EU to follow. With German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her way out and French President Emmanuel Marcon more unpopular at home than ever, the EU faces a leadership crisis at a crucial time. In face of surging popularity of anti-establishment parties on the right and left, the EU top brass will have a tough time running a bitterly divided house.
Video: “Nobody treats us much worse than the European Union,” Trump [60 Minutes-CBS News; October 2018]
[Cover image via YouTube]
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