Europe sees lessons to be drawn from US election

Even in the best of families, the eldest child will have a natural tendency to patronise his or her younger sibling. ( dpa )

And relations between "old Europe" and its former colony, the United States, have enjoyed the usual kin-like mix of love and misunderstandings.

But a survey of opinions around Europe's main capitals suggests an unprecedented level of interest in the highly-publicized US election process and a surprising mix of admiration and desire to learn from it.

As one veteran diplomat in Brussels puts it: "Democracy is like wine: once we used to export it, now we are importing it."

From London to Rome and from Berlin to Lisbon, the race for the nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and between John McCain and his Republican rivals has dominated the airwaves and conversations at dinner parties.

Tomas Valasek, a foreign policy and defence expert at the London-based Centre for European Reform, says US elections matter in Europe because the rest of the world usually tends to group the two continents together.

"And if the US does bad things, we are guilty by association," says Valasek in explaining why he cannot recall "a US election that matters more than this one."

Interest in the campaign is even high in France, in spite of impending municipal elections and the entertainment provided by the political and personal lapses of their own president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

There, the fate of Obama and Clinton is being followed closely in particular by those French who complain that their country's political establishment continues to be dominated by white men.

One commentator notes that Obama's mixed blood "brings out the idea of reconciliation" while Geraldine Ridel, a retired businesswoman, wants Clinton to win.

"She is a woman and she has experience with power," Ridel told dpa.

In Britain, commentators believe that spin-afflicted local politics can draw a lesson from the way US primaries are held.

They note that despite the star-driven approach of the US primaries, candidates exuded an impressive degree of authenticity during the crucial stages of the campaign.

"On the eve of Iowa, Obama was not the rockstar candidate but an exhausted idealist with a broken voice, appealing for voters to stand up for change" while "Hillary recovered because she let down her guard, displayed her emotional side and let her inner wonk run wild", read a recent article in the conservative Spectator magazine.

"The demand for authenticity reflects the fact that voters now see through spin faster than ever before," concluded the Spectator.

Karsten Voigt, the German government's coordinator for German-US relations, says he was impressed with the sheer numbers of grass-roots supporters involved in the primaries, canvassing votes, sending e-mails and soliciting donations.

What's more, while money plays an important role in the selection process, "the candidate who has the most money doesn't necessarily make it into the final round," Voigt told dpa.

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then Italy's Walter Veltroni stands out as the biggest adulator of US-style politics in Europe.

The former mayor of Rome, who is now challenging billionaire Silvio Berlusconi for the post of prime minister in the country's April 13-14 general election, has not only called for online donations and the help of volunteers, he has even adopted Obama's "Yes, we can!" slogan.

So, whom do Europeans want as the next US president, and will he or she make a difference to transatlantic relations?

A recent poll by the London-based Financial Times found that while most Britons prefer Clinton, Obama is the people's top choice in France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

One diplomat in Brussels says that Europeans' preference for a Democratic candidate is dictated "by emotions rather than rational calculations."

While relations have been particularly uneasy under President George W. Bush, the diplomat notes that Democratic presidents usually tend to be more protectionist than their Republican colleagues.

Franco Pavoncello, a political science professor at Rome's John Cabot University, says that "no matter who wins the US elections, relations between the US and Italy are destined to remain good."

But for people like Gordon Brown, the British premier who has tried so hard to dissociate himself from Iraq and other legacies of the Blair era, a Democrat in the White House would be a natural preference.

Personnel changes at AccessBank
Personnel changes at AccessBank
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
EY Azerbaijan invites small and medium sized companies to take part in ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ 2020-2021 competition
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
"Together we are POWER": ENGINET supports injured children in Ganja city (FOTO)
Loading Bars
Iran boosts manufacturing of passenger cars
UAE cabinet approves new cybersecurity body, climate change envoy
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported by Georgia to Turkey
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Kazakhstan continues introduction of mobile diagnostic tools in railway sector
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan discuss possibilities of attracting investors to Azerbaijan territories liberated from occupation
Britain expects 'very significant' week for Brexit talks as clock ticks down
Iran declares cargo transportation from Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Death toll from COVID-19 tops 172,000 in Brazil
Chinese companies to process Uzbek garlic for further export to US and European countries
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to France declines
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 29
Details of Iran’s trade turnover announced
EU aims to support Georgia in its efforts to reform electricity market
Azerbaijan confirms 4,170 new COVID-19 cases, 1,985 recoveries
5.5-magnitude quake hits Vanuatu
Azersu LLC announces tender for purchase of equipment for laboratory
Kazakhstan's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijan shows footage of Aghdam's Shahbuldag village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Isfahan Province increases
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Ilam Province shrinks
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
At least 30 police killed, over 20 wounded in suicide car bomb explosion in E. Afghanistan
Georgia reports 4 426 new coronavirus cases, 3 721 recoveries, 35 deaths
Over 5,500 patients recover from coronavirus in Moscow in the past day
Azerbaijan shows footage of liberated from occupation villages of Kalbajar region (PHOTO/VIDEO)
China increases import of Turkish cars
Employment in Iran's Alborz Province declines
The President of Turkmenistan receives representative of medical community of Germany
S. Korea reports 450 more COVID-19 cases, 33,824 in total
Azerbaijan's turnover on payment cards in 10M2020 up
Inter-Agency Coordination Council discusses enforcement of Covid restrictions
Azerbaijan has ample opportunities and potential for artificial intelligence dev't
Trump may announce plans for 2024 presidential race during Biden’s inauguration
826 more coronavirus cases recorded in Kazakhstan over 24 hours
France sees further fall in COVID-19 hospitalizations as lockdown exit starts
Turkey's Temsa makes 1st electric bus exports to Sweden
Iran registers monthly positive trade balance
Scottish dev’t agency eyes establishing co-op with companies in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan
Croatian PM in self-quarantine after wife contracts COVID-19
UK records another 15,871 coronavirus cases with 479 deaths
Some 46,000 people gather in Paris to protest against security bill
Kazakhstan to modify large energy saving projects on railways
Severe fire danger for Australia as temperatures smash records
Dozens of Boko Haram militants killed in Nigeria airstrikes
Pope installs new cardinals, including first African-American
WHO reports new daily record high of over 747,000 COVID-19 cases
UK police arrest 155 in anti-lockdown protests in London
Assistant to Azerbaijani president posts footage from Tartar, Aghdam cities
UK, France sign new deal to stop illegal migration across Channel
Iran discloses electricity generation at Iran's Bandar Abbas TPP
Turkey reports 6,714 new COVID-19 cases, 487,912 in total
Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Georgia takes necessary steps to avoid increase in bread prices
Ethiopian military has taken 'full control' of Tigray capital, government says
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Kazakhstan raises import of grain, legumes from Turkey
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
AP publishes article covering Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja on Oct.17 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
OIC adopts resolutions in connection with Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan
President, members of Board of European Muslim Forum send letter to President Aliyev
Aghdam district of Azerbaijan after 27 years of Armenian occupation (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan to bring waste processing level to average European level
UK appoints minister in charge of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Number of blocked malware in AzStateNet network drops
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 29
Azerbaijani team takes third place in group exercises at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
At least 6 killed in Somali capital suicide bombing
Microsoft Azerbaijan to support all initiatives in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shows footage of Kalbajar's Vang village (VIDEO)
Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence
Electricity imports growing in Georgia
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport slumps amid pandemic
Uzbek-Korean JSC Uz-Dong Won Co. announces tender for steel pipes supply
Cargo transportation at Turkish Antalya airport reduces
Austria records nearly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths over past 10 days
State Employment Agency of Azerbaijan opens tender on supporting start-up projects
Results of Azerbaijan's junior national team performance at 36th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships announced
Details of Iran’s exports to Iraq declared
Azerbaijan reports 4,212 new COVID-19 cases, 1,760 recoveries
Four citizens dead as result of mine exploding in Fuzuli - Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office
Kazakhstan's export volumes to China surge despite COVID-19
Assistant to Azerbaijan's president, diplomats, Garabagh FC representatives visit Aghdam Mosque (PHOTO)
Turkmenistan committed to promoting socio-economic development of Afghanistan
Georgian oil companies seek to avoid price increases
Tender for maintenance of elevators, escalators launched in Turkey
Azerbaijan's ten-month output of oil products declines
Turkey's export of grain and legumes to Turkmenistan up
Turkmenistan, Belarus discuss program of cooperation
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 28
Azerbaijani president's assistant, diplomatic corps reps arrive at liberated Aghdam city
Rural digitalization project successfully underway in Kazakhstan
Missile fired to Tartar by Armenia delivered to local museum - president's assistant (VIDEO)
Number of enterprises put into operation in Iran's Ardabil Province up
Water problems center to be created in Uzbekistan’s Khorezm region
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of lubricating oil
Azerbaijan’s Baku Telephone Communications opens tender
Georgia sees increase in COVID-19 cases
All news