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Analysts say Trump’s triumph scared European leaders

November 10, 2016, 20:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Analysts believe that Donald Trump is capable of changing the US Administration’s global agenda

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© AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. The European leaders are in great confusion over Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential election largely because they fear the pillar of US support that looked unshakable until just recently may start crumbling down, polled analysts have told TASS.

After Trump triumphed in last Tuesday’s election, the EU leaders took a pause for several hours before addressing him with greetings. German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a very reserved, brief statement. President Francois Hollande, of France, said that "some of Trump’s electioneering statements caused concern." He added that the election of a new US president opened up a period of uncertainty.

Similar statements were made by the European Parliament’s President Martin Schultz and European Council President Donald Tusk. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he wished the trans-Atlantic ties to remain strong.

Fear of losing ground

The director for research at the international discussion club Valdai, Fyodor Lukyanov, believes that with Trump’s election the European leaders have felt the growing uncertainty of their own position.

"At a time when the last component of a world order that had looked unshakable all the way is beginning to change the European leaders could not but feel dismay for reasons that are too obvious to explain. In their scheme of things Trump is not a guarantor who will see to it the relations between the United States and the European Union will remain as firm as they have been so far. In other words, Trump’s victory cuts the ground from under their feet," Lukyanov believes.

The chief of the European political research department at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ institute of the world economy and international relations IMEMO, Nadezhda Arbatova, recalls that the European Union has always had problems in relations with the Republicans.

"The Europeans had a bad experience of cooperation with George W. Bush, when there was a period of estrangement in relations with the United States. The European leaders found it much easier to do business with the Democrats - Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. This explains why they would like Hillary Clinton to get into the White House," Arbatova said.

She believes Trump’s victory hasAnalysts say Trump’s triumph has shell-shock effect on European leaders the European politicians.

"They see Trump as an eccentric personality, a populist. But they have no option left other than to start building relations with him," she said.

Shaky foothold

Polled analysts believe the European leaders find Trump’s victory fearsome because the customary lifestyles in their countries are in jeopardy, too. The more so, since in 2017 France will see presidential and parliamentary elections and Germany will be electing a new Bundestag.

Amid the immigration crisis in the European Union Trump during his election campaign described Angela Merkel’s open door policy as "madness."

"To an extent Trump’s victory heralds victory of nationalist sentiment in the US society as a response to the excesses of globalization. Already now, against the triumphant march of populism, the conservative party Alternative for Germany is gaining strength. In the forthcoming Bundestag elections the migration policy miscalculations of the Merkel-led ruling coalition will cost it the loss of many votes," Arbatova believes.

"A firm relationship with the United States was Angela Merkel’s lifeline, a mandatory condition for Germany to position itself as the leading force in both the European Union and NATO. Trump’s victory for her was an ice bucket, a nightmare that may ruin the basic parameters of cooperation with the United States. Once a firm partner to rely on the United States has suddenly turned into an uncertainty factor for Germany," Lukyanov said.

Deputy head of the world economy and world politics department of the Higher School of Economics, Andrey Suzdaltsev, believes that the era of Merkel’s messianism is coming to an end and Germany’s ruling coalition will suffer a crushing defeat in the Bundestag elections.

As for the response the outcome of the US presidential election has evoked in France, it was far more interesting to see and hear not President Francois Holland’s reaction, but the joy of National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Lukyanov believes Le Pen looks jubilant because she hopes to extrapolate the effect of Brexit and the election of an out-of-system candidate as the United States’ new president to other countries, first and foremost, to France.

"Marine Le Pen is so happy about Trump’s victory because she argues that growing nationalism is a world trend. But her joy may turn out premature, because the French electorate will hardly agree to let her take the reins of power," Arbatova said.

Ukraine is a postponed priority

Dismay over Trump’s victory has swept Ukraine. All analysts interviewed by TASS agree Kiev does have a reason for alarm.

"Ukraine will surely go down on a future US Administration’s list of priorities. Prestige is a matter of great importance for Trump. He will not turn his back on Ukraine, of course. He’d go against his own rules, if he should. But he will surely not bother to promote democracy there. The United States’ support for Kiev will be purely verbal and expressed during official visits. But financial attention to Ukraine will dwindle," Lukyanov predicts.

Suzdaltsev speculates that a future US Administration will set eyes on Ukraine last thing. Possibly, next spring. "Trump’s attitude to Ukraine will depend on relations with Russia. A decision to either prolong or ease the anti-Russian sanctions Barack Obama imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis will work as the litmus test. It will be the moment of truth. A critical moment," he believes.

Changes to global agenda

Lukyanov believes that Donald Trump is capable of changing the US Administration’s global agenda.

"Trump’s call upon the NATO countries, Japan and South Korea to spend more on their own defense and not count entirely on the US security umbrella is not new. Obama made such statements, too. But Trump repeated this urge in a far harsher way," Lukyanov said.

He foresees fundamental revision of the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Partnership projects.

"The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will be surely buried, while the Trans-Pacific Partnership is unlikely to receive approval from the Republican majority in the US Congress.

"Trump’s supporters believe that the trans-national companies, interested in both projects, are stealing jobs from the United States. A future US Administration may opt for a home country-centered approach and work for the interests of white working-class America, and not corporations," says Suzdaltsev.

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