Some take a little longer. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron congratulated Joe Biden on the victory as soon as the American broadcaster announced this. Victor Orban took his time until Sunday. His neighbor, Slovenian Prime Minister Janesz Jansa, even spread conspiratorial tweets about election fraud early in the morning.
For Europe’s right-wing nationalists, the end of Donald Trump is a warning sign. Everyone else takes a deep breath. Even the diplomat of the Berlin Chancellery shows her relief. “I look forward to the future collaboration,” Merkel tweeted.
It was no coincidence that this tweet wasn’t the only one to go out promptly at 7pm on Saturday. The Chancellor as the incumbent EU Council President had agreed to meet with Macron and others to congratulate them at the same time.
The quick response hours before Biden’s victory speech carried a clear message to the stubborn loser. “S’isch over” later quoted Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble himself from the times of the Greek crisis.
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Above all, the parallel action is intended to send a second signal: Berlin, Paris and Brussels do not want to be new partners for America. Europe wants to appear together from the beginning. The end of the “difficult, even destructive last four years,” as Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier openly calls the Trump period in the FAZ, is intended to shock the direction of closer cooperation, both over the Atlantic Ocean as in Europe.
Angela Merkel has often met Joe Biden, for example in 2015 at the Munich security conference Photo: imago images / ZUMA Press
A common appearance will be urgently needed. There is no question among foreign, defense, and trade politicians that Biden will defend America’s interests not with noisy Twitter chatter, but will defend just as decisively.
Conversely, says Union Vice President Johann Wadephul, Europe must pay for the partnership with the new president in its own interest. “It’s not done with good words, friendly gestures and congratulations,” said the CDU politician. “We also have to deliver.”
It could stay with the broad outlines of US alliance policy
That can be literally expensive. Barack Obama pushed for the two percent defense spending target. Biden advisers have shown that the broad outlines of US alliance policy will be upheld. For Europe and the European NATO partners, this means take care of your backyards first – your security, your neighborhoods, your problems with migration.
It is unclear to what extent the new leadership in Washington plans to revise certain decisions or – given a Republican majority in the Senate – can do so at all. If the massive troop reduction continued in Afghanistan, the Bundeswehr would also have to cut back. In the Upper Palatinate, which is particularly affected by Trump’s punitive measures to move US troops east to Europe, some may also be happy too soon.
There is also a dispute with Germany
Trade issues are probably more civil, but just as difficult in content. The taxation of American giants like Apple or Google remains controversial. Conversely, a president seeking to reconcile Trump’s voters will face European restrictions on US agriculture.
But with that a dispute in Germany is immediately programmed. CDU man Wadephul is already thinking aloud about resuming TTIP negotiations on a transatlantic free trade agreement: “The more free trade zones we can create, the better.” Not only the current coalition partners, but also possible future coalition partners such as the Greens, as we know, see it differently.
Russia – Putin’s lap dog is gone
Shortly after Joe Biden’s election victory was announced, the first congratulations came from abroad. Initially, there was no response from Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently assured him that his country would cooperate with any US president. However, he criticized Biden for his “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric” and praised Trump’s desire for better relations with Russia.
But Putin also found words of praise for Biden: he emphasized his willingness to extend the “New Start” disarmament treaty. The contract expires in February and Washington and Moscow have not yet been able to agree on an extension.
The topic of Russia shaped Trump’s presidency – not because of political events, but because of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election campaign in favor of Trump. According to US security authorities, Russian intelligence agents hacked the Democrats’ servers and emails from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton were later published on Wikileaks.
Throughout his tenure, Trump has not once criticized the Russian president or his policies. “He’s Putin’s lap dog,” Biden said during the election campaign.
Traditionally, the Republicans are actually considered to be the party that is taking it harder against Russia. Uncritical or even lenient in dealing with Russia is not to be expected from the future president – quite the contrary. With Biden, the international sanctions against Moscow can be expanded.
More pressure from Washington could help finally achieve a peace solution in the Ukrainian conflict after more than six years. Biden, who knows Putin personally from his time as vice president, has a down-to-earth view of Russia. In the election campaign, he described the country as “the greatest threat” to US security.
However, Biden’s victory has an advantage for the Kremlin: US policy is once again becoming more predictable, as the example of the ‘New Start’ disarmament treaty shows.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, had not yet congratulated Joe Biden on Sunday afternoon Photo: Alexei Nikolsky / Pool Sputnik Kremlin / AP / dpa
Great Britain – probably not a free trade deal for now
Joe Biden’s victory is not necessarily good news for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Biden and Johnson have very different views on Brexit. This has implications for talks between the EU and the UK on a trade deal, which will resume next Monday.
With US President Biden, it will be even more difficult for Johnson to sign a truly profitable trade deal with the US. Plus, like Trump, Johnson tries to use chaos and break rules to get there. When the House of Commons threatened to thwart his plans in the battle for the EU exit treaty last year, he unceremoniously put it on a forced hiatus.
In the US, Democratic Speaker of Parliament Nancy Pelosi was one of the first to criticize the Single Market Act as illegal. If the UK is in violation of international law, there is “absolutely no chance” that a trade deal between London and Washington will receive congressional approval, Pelosi said.
Moments later, Biden also stated in September that Johnson could not count on the long-awaited free trade agreement in view of such a violation of the law.
China – Trump was an opponent in the trade war, but the People’s Republic took advantage of him
China’s party leader and President Xi Jinping was one of the few heads of state to congratulate Joe Biden until Sunday afternoon. He knows the American quite well, the two have met at least eight times.
From 2008 to 2012 they worked as vice presidents for their country, in 2012 the Communist Party chose Xi Jinping as its general secretary and then as president. “Before I left the vice presidency, I spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other statesman in the world,” Joe Biden said during the election campaign. He does not call China an enemy, but a “competitor”.
The state-controlled newspaper “Global Times” hopes for an easing of the broken relationships. There were some artificial bubbles this year due to election campaign, as the Trump administration was deliberately creating tensions, the paper writes. “We believe it is possible to burst these bubbles.” Beijing should try as thoroughly as possible to communicate with the Biden team.
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China has mixed feelings about Biden’s presidency. On the one hand, Trump’s trade war had badly damaged the country economically. On the other hand, his isolation policy had also helped China’s further international rise.
China’s party leader Xi Jinping hopes to end the trade dispute with the US Photo: Ju Peng / Xinhua / dpa
The People’s Republic discovered diplomatic gaps in international organizations such as the WHO or the UN due to the US withdrawal. Joe Biden wants to undo a lot of it. The domestic political chaos that Donald Trump sometimes caused helped China to propagate the superiority of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” over the democratic system.
This becomes especially evident when the US fails to combat corona. That should not only change with regard to the corona virus. The issue of human rights and China’s repression of the Uyghurs are likely to play a greater role in relations again. Or as the “Global Times” puts it, “Of course the Democratic Party is more stubborn when it comes to values.”
North Korea – what will happen to the peace efforts?
As of Sunday afternoon, North Korea had not yet officially responded to the election of the new US President Joe Biden. A year ago, however, the state-run North Korean news agency KCNA made it clear what it thought of the Democratic presidential candidate at the time.
“Hunting dogs like Biden can hurt a lot of people if they can run around freely,” the agency wrote, as usual. “You have to be beaten to death with a stick.” It was unclear at the time what triggered the propaganda machine’s ire, possibly an election ad in which Joe Biden condemned Trump’s foreign policy and criticized him for “ praising dictators and tyrants. ”
The word ‘tyrant’ could have angered North Korea because it also showed a photo of Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met several times.Photo: Reuters / Leah Millis / File Photo
Donald Trump had broken new ground in foreign policy with his historic first meeting with Kim Jong-un. The benefit is controversial among experts. On the one hand, there was for the first time a personal connection at the highest level. On the other hand, there have been no significant diplomatic meetings between the two countries since the Hanoi meeting in February 2019 – which Trump cut short.
Even President Barack Obama hadn’t gotten far with the policy of “strategic patience.” “I hope the Biden team will approach it with an open mind and assess the pros and cons of Trump’s approach and the Obama era by a narrow margin,” said North Korea expert John Delury of NK’s Yonsei University. News website. “.
Biden has already announced that he wants to push for the denuclearization of North Korea. At the same time, he has not ruled out a meeting with Kim. “On condition that he agrees to reduce its nuclear capacity,” said Biden. The wording leaves him a lot of political leeway, Delury says. “I don’t think he has made up his mind yet.”