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Europe's week: US elections test both American and European unity

Europe's week: US elections test both American and European unity
Copyright TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP or licensors
Copyright TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP or licensors
By Darren McCaffrey
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As Americans finally voted for their next president, experts on US and European relations explain what the result could mean for the continent.

An America divided


After months of campaigning, Americans have voted. In the end, it proved to be a tighter race than many expected, however, it's clearer than ever that America is a country divided.

But with Joe Biden being announced as the President-elect, what does that mean for us here in Europe?

Ian Lesser, Vice President at The German Marshall Fund told Euronews that so as far as Europe is concerned, "when they look at the United States, I think [a Biden presidency] this could actually make a very big difference.

But he added: "I think that polarisation will be something to take into account because there's a relationship between societies here. But at the level of foreign policy, I think we could be in for some very, very big differences and probably ones that most American allies would find appealing."

Lesser also explained that American democracy has managed to survive the challenge of the past four years relatively intact.

"I do think it's correct to say that it's been challenged, but I also think it's correct to say that it's survived it pretty well. I mean, when you get this kind of a turnout, which is extraordinary by American standards, and, and so far, no serious disturbances around the election, lots of political debate, obviously lots of extraordinary things from the president.

"The system has held up pretty well. So in the end, we may conclude that many of these fears were in a sense unfounded, even if the stresses in the system are going to be there for a long time to come."

A Europe Divided

But it's not just the US that is fragmented. Our own continent is witnessing a similar fracture over American leadership, according to Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, Jana Puglierin.

"When it comes to transatlantic relations, the rift goes right through not only the European Union Member States. It's generally, I think, correct to talk about a divide between Eastern and Western Europe, but also in Germany, kind of within the country, different camps are not sure how to interpret this and what to do about this.

She added: "But in general, I think in Central and Eastern Europe, there is a huge fear that without the United States, there would be no kind of security guarantees vis-a-vis Russia. They are afraid of nuclear blackmailing. And I can very well understand why they want to stick kind of with the United States, whatever it takes."

There's also been a lot of talk recently about Europe standing on its own two feet, strategically speaking, learning to be independent of the US.

Puglierin, however, told Euronews that the continent should "abandon this talk about strategic autonomy the future together."

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