Battered by Trump, Europeans embrace a projected Joe Biden presidency

Toni Waterman in Brussels – November 09, 2020

The relief of a projected Joe Biden victory is palpable in Europe, with many believing this is an opportunity to reset the EU-U.S. relationship.  

At a market in Brussels, one gentleman told CGTN Europe that Joe Biden was “going to bring back dignity to the U.S. government.” A young woman said, “It’s a relief. It’s not really about Biden being elected, but that Trump hasn’t been elected.”

Another hailed the U.S. election as a “victory for democracy,” adding “I’m not sure Biden will be all sugar for Europe, but I think globally for humanity he will be a better president than Trump.”

Congratulations from EU leaders crash like a wave across Twitter 

Within minutes of Joe Biden being declared the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, words of congratulations crashed like a wave across Twitter. Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier said Biden’s victory had “sparked enormous relief, hope, and joy in the U.S., in Germany and around the globe!”

Chancellor Angela Merkel, often the target of Trump’s criticism, said in a statement that she looked forward to “future cooperation with President Biden” and called the transatlantic relationship “irreplaceable.”

That sentiment was shared by French President Emmanuel Macron, whose attempts to be friendly with President Trump culminated in U.S. tariffs on $1.3 billion worth of French goods, although the U.S. delayed the collection during the pandemic.

He tweeted “We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”

That work could start as soon as this week when Biden and Macron are expected to speak on the phone.

But not everyone shared in the excitement. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa – a long–time Trump ally – raised questions about the outcome, saying in a tweet:

“Complaints have been filed in all U.S. countries with a close outcome. The courts have not even begun to decide. Nevertheless, #MSM [mainstream media] (and not some official body) announce the winner.”

Europe and the U.S. to hit the reset button under a Biden administration

Many in Europe see Biden’s victory as an opportunity to hit the reset button on the frayed transatlantic relationship. Trump has often bewildered EU leaders with his chaotic and protectionist tendencies. He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, walked away from the Iran nuclear deal, and made moves to exit the World Health Organization in the middle of a global pandemic, which could cost the UN agency tens of millions of dollars in support.

“The COVID- 19 pandemic is the first time that Europe and the United States face a global challenge without a common vision. This makes our efforts and our responses less effective,” European Parliament President David Sassoli said in a video statement on Twitter. “However, it’s not only the pandemic that calls for a stronger and more concentrated relationship.”

A collaborationist at heart, Joe Biden is expected to help mend the rift. He pledged to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and is open to reengaging with Iran. Even so, Biden’s presidency won’t be a return to the good old days.

Trump has transformed American politics and this election, while a victory for democracy, has shown how deeply divided the U.S. remains. It leaves Europe hopeful in the short term but suggests a more independent relationship with the continent’s oldest ally in the longer term.


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