19th Mar 2018


US election, Turkey and Paris attacks anniversary This WEEK

  • A president Clinton would continue most of US policies, while president Trump would probably be more destabilising for the EU. (Photo: Reuters)

Four and half months after the Brexit referendum, Europeans will once again this week feverishly wait for results that will drip throughout the night and could change the world they live in.

On Tuesday (8 November), US voters will choose their next president - between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The final result should be known early on Wednesday, European time.

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For the EU, a president Clinton would be a known entity. She was in charge of the US diplomacy from 2009 to 2013. Although she has spoken against TTIP, the EU-US trade deal still being negotiated, she would be expected to continue most of Barack Obama's policies.

A Trump presidency would probably be more destabilising for the EU. The Republican candidate has sympathies for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and has said he would reconsider Nato's pledge of mutual defence.

He also opposes TTIP and said the US should leave the World Trade Organisation.

He has threatened to ban Muslims from entering the US, which would concern many EU citizens. He also said he would consider "extreme vetting" of German and French citizens who want to enter the US, because these two countries have been "totally compromised by terrorism".

'Hate preacher'

Some EU leaders have expresses concerns about a possible election of Trump.

 French president Francois Hollande said the Republican candidate "makes you want to retch".

German chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump said should be "ashamed of herself" because of her refugee policies, before saying a few months later that she was "a really great world leader", has said nothing about him. But her foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said Trump was "a hate preacher".

European Parliament president Martin Schulz said Trump was "not only a problem for the EU but also for the whole world", while European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he had "a preference for a female candidate".

European Council president Donald Tusk said anti-liberals "look up to Putin and support Trump". He may have referred to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and anti-EU British political Nigel Farage, who both endorsed Trump. He may also have referred to his fellow European People's Party member, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, and Czech president Milos Zeman, who also expressed their support.

Turkey report

On Wednesday (9 November), other world events will be on the agenda, as the commission is expected to present its annual progress reports on enlargement negotiations, which include recommendations.

Next to the reports on Serbia and Montenegro, the most looked at report will be the one on Turkey. Last Friday, the commission said it was "gravely concerned" by arrests of leaders of the pro-Kurdish party HDP.

The arrests were the latest in a series of blow against political and media freedom in the country since a failed coup in July.

Manfred Weber, the head of the largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP, and Kati Piri, the parliament's Turkey rapporteur, have called on the commission to suspend accession talks. But the EU executive has so far insisted on the importance of keeping open "channels of communication" with Turkey.

Paris attacks

On Sunday (13 November), France will commemorate the first anniversary of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured 351 in cafes, restaurants, a concert hall and next to a stadium.

A year after the attacks, the country is still under a state of emergency, which was prolonged after another attack in Nice in July.

For the EU, the Paris attacks triggered a push for more controls at external borders as well as more data gathering and sharing. A new portfolio was created at the EU commission, for security union.

A few days before the Paris commemorations, on Tuesday (8 November), the new security commissioner, Julian King, will be heard for the first time since his nomination by the EU parliament's committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs.

King has been tasked with a monthly report on how all the EU security and anti-terror measures are being implemented.

EU willing to keep contact with Turkey

The European Commission said it was "gravely concerned" by arrests of political leaders, but is not considering suspending accession talks.

Brexit and trade will top This WEEK

A crucial EU summit will decide whether to give a green light to the Brexit transition period, while the EU is also fighting to get exemptions from the new US steel and aluminium tariffs.

'Selmayrgate' moves to the EU Parliament This WEEK

As a global trade war looms over the new US steel tariffs, the EU's attention will shift to Strasbourg - where MEPs are expected to debate the Martin Selmayr appointment, trade, Brexit, journalism and the budget.

Italy and migration will top This WEEK

Italy will have voted for a government, Germany's social democrats will have voted to confirm a government (or not): the dynamics in European politics may change, while Brussels will focus on Brexit again.

Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant

Niger has temporarily stopped all evacuations from Libya detention centres under an EU funded programme because so few are being resettled to Europe. Many of those that have been evacuated are pregnant, with some asking for HIV testing.

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