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EU-US relations 'steady', though admiration fairly 'one-way'

brussels bureau

EU-US relations 'steady', though admiration fairly 'one-way'


The United States’ Star Spangled Banner has lost some of the new luster Europe saw in it with Barack Obama’s historic ascension as president. How might the outcome of the midterm elections affect EU-US relations?

At a common history exhibition in Brussels, euronews asked the US ambassador that question. His answer was: not much.

Howard Gutman said: “If the Democrats – President Obama’s party – lose some more seats in the House and in the Senate, I think our country’s agenda is [will remain] pretty well set [established]. We are dedicated towards working with Europe in getting third party nations to focus on climate. We are dedicated to a strong relationship with Russia that is helping us in facing Iran. We are dedicated on pursuing peace in the Mideast. We are dedicated to continuing to pursue, with Europe, the economic recovery.”

Euronews also sought an opinion from Israeli historian and diplomat Élie Barnavi.

Barnavi said: “Obama is not spontaneously a European. He’s the United States’ first post-European president. He looks more toward the Pacific than across the Atlantic. So an ambiguous relationship set in. From one side there’s affection and admiration for the man who’s obviously exceptional but also some disappointment over a president who doesn’t seem to be as attentive towards Europe as Europe is towards him.”

Any pondering in Brussels of US election ‘day after’ scenarios will bear in mind what the head of the European Commission said this summer: “We should do much more together; what a pity to miss an opportunity.”

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