Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States of America. He got elected on Tuesday, the 3rd of November, 2020. The whole world was watching, was it going to be Trump or Biden? An election that doesn’t only influence the US but as well Europe and therefore the European Union. The question is what does the new presidential election in the US actually mean for Europe, the European Union, and its citizens?
The US elections, and -relations with Europe, through the eyes of a Europe-based American citizen.
Kerry Waananen 32 years old, originally from a small town in Colorado, but lived for the past seven years in Seattle. A few years ago, he was studying in China where he met a Dutch woman, who was teaching English there. They fell in love, got married and now they live together in the Netherlands, for just over 2 years. Kerry considers himself at the moment as an American transitioning into a European, because of the immigration rules in the Netherlands: After you marry a Dutch national, you must integrate into Dutch society, in order to obtain a Dutch Passport and full Dutch citizenship. But he is seeking to obtain full European citizenship.
Kerry and his wife sat down every night to watch the US elections. He was cooking when it happened. The results came in after days of waiting. Kerry realizes how the whole world was consumed with the US election battle between Trump and Biden. The presidential elections of the United States were not only consuming US citizens, but also in the Netherlands, and in the rest of Europe people were following it close by.
Journalist Nan Cao speaks with Kerry on the phone to ask him how he perceives the election process, the outcome of the elections, and the possible influence of these elections on the EU, from an ‘American transitioning into a European’ perspective.
What do EU experts have to say about the transitioning from Trump to Biden in the White House? Joseph Borrell, EU High presentative/Vice-president wrote in his blog post Let’s make the most of this new chapter in EU-US relations, how grateful Europe is with the election of Biden. But is this really true? What isn’t mentioned in this article that Poland, Slovenia, and Hungary are way less happy with the election of Biden. They were all rooting for Trump. Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, was praised for his anti-migrant policies by Trump, and Janez Jänsa, the prime minister of Slovenia, stated that he respected Biden as a person, but that he will be one of the weakest presidents in history.
Frederico Romero is a Professor of History of Post-War European Cooperation and Integration from the European University Institute and explains what the election of Biden will mean for Europe: “I think most European governments are quite happy to have Biden in the White House, rather than fine. Yeah, there might be two or three that were disappointed, particularly Hungary, and Poland because they had an affinity with Trump in the first place. In second, because, particularly from Poland, the Trump administration was giving them a lot of support, for example through the removal of the requirement for visas for Polish people, and protection against Russia. But I think in general, the European government and especially b2b (business-to-business companies) countries, Germany, France, feel much more comfortable with Biden. Because he has a strong sense of Atlantic connections and feels the importance of NATO, strong allies, multilateral cooperation, climate, defense, and trade.”.
Romero doesn’t think that the elections will bring disturbance to the European political climate: “I think countries like Poland and Hungary will accept the outcome of the elections, and besides, their relevancy decisions about European foreign policy are much smaller than the countries, therefore these two or three countries can’t possibly deeply affect the European Union’s foreign affairs.”. To the question if Europe is too dependent on the US, Romero is answering the following: “I think this trend to create a Europe that is less dependent on the US and more capable of expressing its own foreign policy and strategy will go on. Nonetheless, it will go on in a more cooperative way with the US, rather than the fractured and antagonistic they had during the Trump administration. Because Biden is a trans-Atlantic person and certainly finds cooperation and transatlantic relations important.”.