What is the role of American elections for the EU?

External Relations
Economic and political interconnections between are crucial for both US and EU. However, next 2016 American elections  for the White House can change the situation significantly.

Economic and political interconnection between the US and the EU are crucial for both sides. For years, the American presence in Europe has been one of priorities for EU governments.

However, coming 2016 American presidential elections can change the situation significantly. Victory of different candidates would mean the opposite stance to the EU, but anyway a big change is going to follow. What challenges do the US elections pose for the European Union?

Trump’s isolationism

If Donald Trump were going to win, it would definitely cause troubles for the EU. His stance to the American global involvement can be described by his words from Fox Business 2015 GOP primary debate: “We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world.” The same opinion he has regarding the Russian aggression on the European continent. His idea is to make the EU taking responsibility in deciding of its own problems.

His proposals of decreasing the US contributions to NATO make a challenge for the EU’s security. From one point of view, it would be a strong push for the European members of the Alliance to increase its military expenditures and to make Europe self-sufficient in protecting its security. From the other side, in a short term it would cause a shock for the economies.

Another point of Donald Trump’s campaign is even more terrific for the European countries. In many of his interviews, Trump stated that American militants can stay in other countries, but the specially richer ones like Germany, are going to pay for this. Whether American partners in Europe are going to accept the new conditions and take the demanded amount of money from their economies or whether they are going to say goodbye to American militants on their territories, every variant would cause problems and uncertainty.

Donald Trump promotes better relations with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, which to some point confronts the present EU’s attitude to its big Eastern neighbour. The situation would need renegotiation.

Although Donald Trump did not reveal his preferences for the outcome of the British referendum, he congratulated Britain on a good choice of leaving the EU. The results of the referendum, of course, support Trump’s ideas, as he is evoking the same feelings of nationalism in America.

Yougov poll of March this year suggests that Donald Trump’s victory would make the Europeans to feel mostly fear, disappointment and sadness. Even if Donald Trump is not going to win, many Americans have already supported his candidacy. This new changed society will form the attitude of business and politics to the EU. The rise of nationalism and xenophobia, fatigue of American involvement in world affairs show the changed US reality.

Rough lady Hillary Clinton

On the contrary to her opponent, Hillary is in favour of an American involvement everywhere around the world. If she is to become a President, we can expect a US bigger response to Russian aggression and the provision of military equipment to Ukraine. This attitude can provoke Russia more, which means bigger instability for the European continent.

According to her rival, it is Hillary who caused the destabilisation in the Middle East and ISIS is one of the consequences of her being secretary of state. Now she is advocating fighting ISIS. Her rough attitude to international politics is rather well known and apart from Russia can provoke many other countries and lead to more conflicts.

Hillary Clinton is for building partnerships with countries that support American values. She believes that America should lead the world in the 21st century, so the EU would have to accommodate.

According to Yougov statistics, most Europeans would prefer to see Hillary Clinton as a President. The main feelings about her victory would be relief, optimism and happiness. Respondents think that she would do much better than her rival in improving the US-EU relations. Together with Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton urged Britain to stay in the EU.

The outcome

Both candidates oppose TTIP, a free trade agreement between the US and the EU. Without going into discussion what is thought about TTIP, it is very unlikely that the deal is going to be signed by the next American President. Plans for closer economic cooperation are crashing down.

The European Union fighting the consequences of Brexit is facing another threat – American presidential elections. No matter who is going to lead the US for the next years, present fear of uncertainty and strong change in American foreign policy irrespective of the results makes the Union to think over its position. American elections 2016 are unprecedented due to many reasons, and an earthquake is going to follow, especially for the biggest US partners, one of which is the EU.

Alina Nychyk

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