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Europe's week: Biden victory signals change not just in US but Europe too

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President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Wilmington   -   Copyright  Carolyn Kaster/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Europe quietly celebrates

Following a very tight race in the United States, it's no secret that most European capitals are more than happy or even relieved with Biden's victory.

But what does Europe expect from a Biden administration after four fractious years of Trump?

It's the first time that major political parties from both right and left agree that this change would affect in a positive way all aspects of doing politics both in terms of cooperation and substance.

The head of the dominant centre-right political family in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, told Euronews he already sees a major shift.

"The immediate impact will be that the talks in London, for example, on the Brexit issue, are getting better for us Europeans because Boris Johnson cannot say to the citizens in Great Britain that he will get an immediately great trade deal with the Americans. Nobody will buy this anymore. On the other hand, Biden was always a clear supporter of the Good Friday Agreement strengthening the Irish position in the talks. So, it is creating positive leverage for us as Europeans in the talks with our British friends."

Biden tweets on Brexit

And he has good reason to believe that, considering back in September, Joe Biden took a clear position on the question of the Irish border, tweeting that peace on the island of Ireland cannot become a casualty of Brexit.

Trumpism and future EU-US relations

In the wake of Trump's defeat, many have been left wondering where this leaves Trumpism. Greece's former Prime Minister, George Papandreou, certainly thinks it is a definitive wound for the soon to be ex-president's style of politics.

"It is certainly a blow to a type of leadership that was illiberal because what Trump did was he gave a green light to a type of leadership which was and is authoritarian, anti-democratic, immoral anti-scientific, and highly divisive and polarising... I am really appalled by the fact that high ranking Republicans are damaging the image and the credibility of the United States globally by showing distrust in their own democratic institutions just to hold on the power.

"On the other hand, as you mentioned, there is a movement there, there are real problems. The pandemic has shown the huge inequalities, access to healthcare, the need for access to education, the issue of technology and how it has displaced many people but also how it can be used better, gender violence, these are major issues that are creating uncertainties, fear in our societies and they are being exploited by these authoritarian, demagogic leaders. We have to fight back and being able to show the progressive, democratic policies is the way to solve these issues."

But what will become of the EU-US relations under a Biden premiership? Papandreou believes that it has been severely hurt by Trump, but not totally beyond repair.

"Trump has damaged the transatlantic alliance in relation to the EU and the US, and Biden surely wants to repair it. But at the same time, I think this is a new era and Europe has learnt that it must be much more autonomous in its policies globally. It must play a role and I think we have lost the opportunity and now it's a new opportunity to rebuild and rethink the multilateral system so that it's more effective. Europe should take up its own initiative and not just wait and expect from the U.S."

And whilst America and the whole world wait for the American president to concede defeat, European Council President, Charles Michel, will invite Biden to a videoconference call and then a summit in the bloc’s political hub Brussels, possibly before his official inauguration, which might ruffle some feathers with the current White House occupant.