While German and French leaders are backing Biden, Spain’s right-wing politicians and Italy’s prime minister are siding with the incumbent US president.
Is there a consensus in Europe regarding who is the favored candidate in the US presidential election? It’s a tough question to answer, and there is an acknowledgment in different quarters of Europe that there are mixed feelings among the continents politicians about who should be in the White House.
While key figures in the German and French governments are keen to see a victory for Biden, there appears to be more ambivalence about who will be the next US president among politicians in countries such as Spain and Italy, for example.
‘Germany wants me out’
German leaders want to see the back of Trump, and the current US president is well aware of that fact. During the election campaign, he has lamented that “China wants me out, Iran wants me out, Germany wants me out.” It’s not hard to see why there is such hostility. The German government has taken a relatively firm stance on the issue of climate change and this means that there is a significant difference of opinion between Berlin and Washington on this issue, particularly due to Trump pulling the US out of a number of climate treaties.
"The German government has taken a relatively firm stance on the issue of climate change and this means that there is a significant difference of opinion between Berlin and the Trump administration on this issue"
Meanwhile, different perspectives on the issue of climate change have also soured relations between France and the US. Almost immediately following the election of President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, Trump withdrew the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which had been seen as a major triumph for French diplomacy.
But while German and French leaders may be wholeheartedly backing Biden, politicians in Spain are divided on the issue of who should be the next US president Members of the PSOE and Unidas Podemos coalition are, in general, backing Biden. However key members of the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) and far-right party VOX are pro-Trump. That said, of concern to all parties is the issue of trade tariffs announced by the Trump administration.
The website euractiv.com says the new trade sanctions will impact on around €1.27 billion of Spanish exports, of which the vast majority, some €970 million, are agri-food products, such as wine and olives. This €970 million represents 47 per cent of all Spanish food exports to the US market, which in 2018 amounted for €2 billion.
Meanwhile,Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has firmly established himself as a Trump cheerleader. He has publicly backed Trump on key issues and has described Italy as Washington’s “privileged interlocutor”, adding that he is personally prepared to spread the gospel of Trump, particularly in relation to the thorny issue of NATO spending.
At the time of writing, the result of the 2020 US presidential election is still unclear, but what is certain is it is proving as divisive in Europe as it has been stateside.