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Obama: The First Anniversary

Obama: The First Anniversary
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Nicole Bacharan is an historian and political analyst, specialising in US politics and society.
She teaches at the prestigious Sciences Po institute in Paris. She spoke to EuroNews about the first anniversary of Barack Obama’s arrival at the White House.

Fabien Farge, euronews: Barack Obama is celebrating his first year in the White House – a very busy 2009. How have relations been between Obama and Europe, notably on the economic front?

Nicole Bacharan: On the economic front, we have two continents sharing the same crisis and the same difficulties. Policies are heading in the same direction because the demands and necessities are the same. We are not really going along the lines of supranational regulation. Nor are we in a period where the United States is a leader and it is fairly surprising. Still, remember that notably under Bill Clinton, even a little under George Bush, they used to lecture a lot about what modern capitalism should be.

Fabien Farge, euronews: So for Europe and Barack Obama, things will continue, perhaps even intensify. Notably on the international front, there are weighty issues to deal with, to continue to manage, notably terrorism, which we saw return to the foreground at Christmas, but also Afghanistan of course and also, perhaps Iran.

Nicole Bacharan: Relations between the Europeans and the Americans are working well because their common interests are so strong. They are, mutually, the only highly reliable allies that each other can have. However, there is a certain European disappointment in relation to Obama. He is demonstrating a certain negligence or rather a certain ignorance of European sensibility at a certain moment.

Fabien Farge, euronews: Well, as we have seen, there are lots of international issues to deal with….Yet 2010 is going to be an important year for Obama on the domestic front. First of all, there is the forthcoming vote on healthcare reform and, above all, in November, crucial mid-term elections.
Aren’t American domestic politics going to take precedence over these important international questions?

Nicole Bacharan: The world bursts into the Oval Office absolutely every day. It is far too heavy. It is far too much for one man. It is far too much for one country but it is true that in November 2010, the Americans, who are going to vote to renew the whole House of Representatives and a third of the Senate, are going to vote on the state of the economy, on the job situation, and, indeed, on this healthcare reform that we can expect to be approved in the coming weeks. So, for Obama, between now and November, the American people will have to feel a real benefit from this reform. Also, the unemployment curve will have to start heading in the other direction and that is really far from being in the bag.

Fabien Farge, euronews: Nicole Bacharan, thank you for your answers.

Nicole Bacharan: Thank you.

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