João Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the US, on effects of midterms

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João Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the US, on effects of midterms

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Frédéric Bouchard of euronews: “The US economy is having trouble picking up again even though the European Union, led by Germany, is having a bit more success, slowly, with growth. João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of the EU to the US, on 20 November there will be an EU-US summit in Lisbon. President Obama will turn up politically weakened. What will the Europeans’ message to him be?”

João Vale de Almeida: “I believe the main message will be one of commitment and confidence, a commitment to transatlantic relations. That is after all what is most important for Europe, but also for the US, and confidence in our capacity to find good solutions together.”

euronews: “So, on your side, you’re not worried about transatlantic relations in view of this electoral upheaval?”

Vale de Almeida: “No. You know, there is political evolution within EU countries as there is in the US. The democratic game has to be respected. I’m confident that the two main American political formations, the Democrats and Republicans, share what is essential in this interest, this investment in the transatlantic relation.”

euronews: “The policy of a weak dollar seems to be the American administration’s choice. Can the EU really envisage a concerted approach with the US on monetary and economic plans, with the euro seeming to be a currency for the US to adjust itself to?”

Vale de Almeida: “Since the beginning of the crisis in 2008, we’ve developed a close cooperation with the US. You have to remember that Europe and the US were there at the start of the G20, and the G20 is the main instrument for managing the consequences of the economic and financial crisis. We discuss difficult, complex, subjects. I wouldn’t deny the complexity of monetary questions, for example, but I believe there is no alternative. To find common approaches we need to debate. The Europeans and Americans, together, also need to try to understand the place of newly emerging countries, and to try to find good ways to cooperate with countries like China, for example.”

euronews: “With a majority reduced to nine seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives now in the hands of the Republicans, it doesn’t seem probable that President Obama can get a law adopted on climate change. Does the EU have what’s necessary to lead in this area, without the US?”

Vale de Almeida: “We believe that the efforts of all the international players are needed, especially the biggest economies, whether industrialised and developed like ours or emerging economies like that of China, India or Brazil. I believe that there has to be commitment in this context. There has to be a political investment, and it has to come, above all, from the Europeans and the Americans, in such a way that it will lead the emerging countries towards balanced solutions.”

euronews: “Certainly, but this commitment you talk about might come from the EU but not the US, at least with the current majority in Congress.”

Vale de Almeida: “Listen, I’m not going to make any hasty judgment about the American political framework. That’s not up to me. But any man or woman in politics must bear a responsibility in facing global challenges, and climate change is one of the main challenges for our societies. So, I believe debate must continue, including with the new Congress, and we are in close contact with Congress now, and will be with the future Congress, the new majority. I have meetings coming up with representatives of the future Republican majority. I believe this has to be pursued with determination.”