Commenting on the midterm elections in the United States, Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, spokesperson on transatlantic affairs of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, states:
“The “red wave” in the U.S. election in favour of the Republican Party which had been predicted by most polls failed to materialize. President Biden achieved a better result in this midterm election than his Democratic predecessors Clinton and Obama did in their time.
In the transatlantic relationship, no disruption follows from this election, but continued change does. Even if the pessimistic assumption that Donald Trump would become U.S. president again in 2024 has become a bit more unrealistic, there remains enough reason for the EU to prepare for further shifts in its relationship with the United States.
President Biden will be forced by a Republican majority in the House of Representatives to engage in constant domestic political hand-wringing to an even greater extent than before. This hampers his ability to act on foreign policy. In terms of trade policy, Biden is more willing to engage in conflict with the EU than Obama ever was, and the potential for conflict is increasing. Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, Biden will strengthen his focus on the Indo-Pacific region, with a particular emphasis on the hegemonic race with China. Biden’s strong support for defending Ukraine is coming under pressure from right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats alike.
Under these circumstances, the EU must set its strategic priorities between the extremes of illusory autonomy and a comfortable reliance on the United States. More European military support for Ukraine is necessary. The EU needs to deepen cooperation with the U.S. vis-à-vis China without fully adopting the U.S. perspective; therefore, it has to cooperate consistently with other partners who favour democracy and multilateralism. In trade policy issues, the EU cannot rely solely on the principle of hope vis-à-vis the U.S., but will have to make it clear to Washington that partnership and solidarity are not a one-way street. Where the U.S. neglects cooperation with countries in the Global South, the EU must make better offers to prevent Beijing and Moscow from gaining even more influence there. To that end, the Global Gateway Initiative must finally actually get off the ground.”