POLITICS & POLICY
The election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States has triggered many political reactions across Europe. Alain Lamassoure, a French conservative MEP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, explained that Trump has no experience in matters of foreign policy and that the any new stance of the US on the world stage will depend on the closer circle of advisors the President will appoint. In any case, Lamassoure argued that Europe will need to take a leading global role in the defence of democracy and freedom. In Germany, Foreign Affair Minister Walter Steinmeier released a comment after the elections, claiming that “things will get more complicated from now on”.
According to Politico, a senior diplomatic source revealed that EU Foreign Affairs ministers will meet on Sunday to hold informal talks on the consequences of the US elections. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, on the occasion of his annual “Europe speech” in Berlin, Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU must work in the direction of achieving a common European army. However, he warned that anything like the United States of Europe represents nothing but a utopia at this stage.
The election of Donald Trump also casts a new light on European populist parties. All leading radical right-wing parties cheered at the election of the Republican candidate: from Marine Le Pen in France to Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, from Nigel Farage in the UK to Matteo Salvini in Italy. They argued that, as US citizens did, it is now the turn of European citizens to claim back sovereignty and control over their land. According to The Independent, Nigel Farage will go to the US this coming weekend, becoming the first European politician to hold talks with president-elect Trump. Moreover, UKIP donor Arron Banks hinted that in the UK there could be space for the launch of a new political movement inspired by Donald Trump’s success.
Warning messages with respect to the influence that the American elections could have on Europe’s politics were sent by Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the current Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble. Both rejected claims that Trump represents an American-only phenomenon. They warned that populism is affecting the whole western world. On Wednesday night, on the occasion of the 78th anniversary of the “Night of Broken Glass” – which marked the beginning of Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jewish citizens – Chancellor Angela Merkel attacked racist and xenophobic tendencies and policies taking places in several parts of the world.
The refugee crisis and Brexit remain two key concerns for European politicians. On Tuesday, the Hungarian Parliament voted on Viktor Orban’s proposal of a constitutional law aimed at blocking the implementation of the European Commission’s migrant relocation scheme. The law was rejected because of the opposition of the far-right Jobbik party, who saw the measure as too modest. On Wednesday, the British and Hungarian Prime Ministers met in London to discuss European migration and border control issues. Theresa May and Viktor Orban agreed to maintain strong bilateral ties as the UK prepares to exit the EU. Moreover, both leaders committed to protect, respectively, Hungarian and British citizens’ right in the two countries after the Brexit process will be concluded.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the European Council Donald Tusk said that the EU member states – except Britain – will meet in Brussels in the second half of December to continue discussions on the Brexit process. The decisions represents a blow to Theresa May’s request to be fully involved in all discussions on the issue.
“I would like to cordially congratulate Donald Trump. I had, as one of few European politicians, declared public support for this candidate… because I agree with his opinions on migration as well as the fight against Islamic terrorism”.
Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic
Source: EurActiv, 09.11.2016
The amount of taxes that the German chemical firm BASF avoided over the past five years.
Source: The Irish Times, 7.11.2016
The value of “junk credits” held by European banks.
Source: Handelsblatt, 9.11.2016
Photo Credits CC Gage Skidmore
Also published on Medium.