Wed | Apr 1, 2020

European moderates welcome US political shift

Published:Thursday | November 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Sam Derrick from Minnesota celebrates the results of the United States midterm elections during a gathering organised by Democrats Abroad in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)


European moderates are welcoming a re-balancing of U.S. politics after the midterm election but few expect big change in relations with President Donald Trump.

EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici tweeted that the Democrats took the majority in the House of Representative "despite powerful Republican gerrymandering," calling it a "tremendous success."

French President Emmanuel Macron's government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, said the vote "shows the vitality of a great democracy."

After two years in which Trump has bullied European allies and raised fears that Europe will be caught between the US and Russia in a new nuclear arms race, French lawmaker Guy Teissier said the midterm result "will not change things dramatically" for Europe.

Business lobby groups in Europe said they expect protectionist US policies to continue. European People's Party leader Manfred Weber said it's time for Europeans to stop following Washington's example and realise "we are the biggest and largest economic power."

The Kremlin says the outcome of the US midterm elections was "predictable."

Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Wednesday that the vote putting Democrats back in charge of the US House of Representatives continued the traditional pattern of the president's party suffering losses in the first midterm election of his term.

He added that it wasn't immediately clear what impact the election would have on US-Russian relations.

Italy's right-wing deputy premier has tweeted his congratulations to President Donald Trump for the results of the US midterm elections, saying they went "against everything and everyone" pushing for a Democratic wave.

Matteo Salvini, a populist who also serves as Italy's interior minister, shares some of Trump's anti-migrant, nationalist leanings.

Salvini wrote "godonaldgo" and "Compliments to president #Trump for the seats conquered in the Senate and the confirmation in crucial states, against everything and everyone: leftist journalists, actors and singers, directors and pseudo-intellectuals."

Trump's onetime adviser, Steve Bannon, has pointed to Salvini as the future of European politicians.

Germany's foreign minister says the outcome of the US midterm elections means foreign policy will depend more on whether Republicans and Democrats can work together, but doesn't alter the changes in trans-Atlantic relations under President Donald Trump.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday: "What this election doesn't change is that without the US, we will not be able to solve problems in an ever more complicated world."

Maas added: "We must remain realistic. In the past two years, the balance in the partnership with the United States has shifted for the foreseeable future, and the election won't change anything about that either."

Relatives of the first Palestinian-American woman elected to the US Congress are cheering in the Michigan Democrat's ancestral West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Foqa.

Rashida Tlaib's uncle, Bassam Tlaib, said Wednesday that "the family, the village and the region are all proud" of her historic victory.

He says his 42-year-old niece plans to wear traditional Palestinian dress and have a Quran during her swearing-in ceremony. He expects her to "serve the Palestinian cause" in her new role.

Rashida Tlaib was born in the United States to Palestinian parents. Her mother is originally from the West Bank.

Tlaib ran unopposed in her Michigan district. She and Somali-American Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will be first two female Muslim members of Congress.

The Kremlin says the results of Tuesday's midterm elections are not going to hurt ties between Russia and the U.S. because they are bad as it is.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that "it'd be hard to make (the relationship) even worse."

Peskov refused to comment on a suggestion that the Democrats' control of the House will make it more difficult for President Donald Trump to repair ties with Russia. He says, however, "there are no bright prospects on the horizon" for improving the relations.

Michael Oren, Israel's deputy Cabinet minister for public diplomacy and a former ambassador to Washington, says the results made it more likely that President Donald Trump would turn to international diplomacy to reach a deal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Oren has told The Associated Press: "There is no issue which would have greater reverberations, not just on the right but in the centre and maybe even on parts of the left that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue."

He says the results have a two-pronged influence on Israel. The first is to view the Democratic retaking of the House as an opportunity for Israel to reach out again to Democrats and liberal Jews who overwhelmingly supported them after years of the Jewish state perceived as enthusiastically praising Trump. The second is to try and push for as many concrete solutions to its chief concerns - Iran, Syria and the Palestinians - while Trump remains in the White House.

Japanese officials say their alliance with the United States remains unshakable regardless of US election results.

Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Wednesday that Japan-US alliance is "unwavering" despite mixed election results for President Donald Trump.

China says the relationship between the world's two largest economies is so important that interests on both sides will continue pushing for cooperation regardless of the outcome of US elections.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment directly on the outcome but says "regardless of the result ... we believe the two governments and the two peoples all want to maintain the sound and steady development of bilateral relations because we believe it is in the best interests of the international community."

Hua says China looks forward to a meeting between Trump and President Xi Jinping later this month at a G-20 summit in Argentina.