This weekly broadcast series presents the European news from different angles and perspectives. Which events and developments have made the news, and how? Each week we take a closer look at one event that dominated this week’s news, and quickly discuss other topics that grabbed the headlines in various countries across the continent.
In last week’s edition we saw how Donald Trump’s claims of victory were described by European journalists as ‘unseen’ and ‘a threat to democracy’. On Saturday 7 November, U.S. media declared Joe Biden to be the official winner. What future does the European press predict for the newly elected democrat? Will he be able to reunite the divided States of America?
You'll find the script below:
Well, although the European media are generally positive about Biden’s victory, they question whether he will be able to restore some of the damage caused by Trump and unite a county that has become extremely polarized. “Drama and division” that is how the Guardian summarised the 2020 elections. David Smith writes the tight election reveals the gulf between the two Americas, and cited veteran journalist Carl Berstein, that referred to the societal division as a cold civil war. Der Zeit describes how the U.S. has transformed into a country where space for compromise has completely disappeared.
Besides the challenge to heal a divided nation, do European media also foresee other battles for Biden?
Yes, the Guardian lists a few: tackling the Corona crisis, healthcare, the economy, immigration, racial justice, climate change, foreign policy, the courts, and big tech. Rob Wijnberg states in the Correspondent that Biden will inherit a country that lies in ruins in almost every aspect. This all while Biden will still be wrestling with Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat. Dutch newspaper NRC describes how initial euphoria is slowly replaced by concerns in Washington, with the White House turning into an inaccessible fortress. According to Politico, 70% of the republicans still believe elections were not free and fair.
The media also paid considerate attention to the appointment of Kamala Harris as the new vice-president. Why was her nomination perceived as a sign of hope in this turbulent period?
According to German newspaper Der Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Harrisis an example of the American dream, an example that brings hope, and could potentially even be the candidate for the next elections. Spanish news agency EFE even describes Harris as a superhero, and a role model, who can influence many through social media. According to Politico, Harris has a long list of things she was the first to achieve as a woman of colour. The Guardian cited writer Mikki Kendall that said we must celebrate the progress that Harris represents, but take in mind there is still much work to be done before seeing women in leadership roles in America is standard.
And is the election of Biden and nomination of Harris also a positive sign for Europe?
Yes, of course many newspapers also cited national leaders Merkel and Macron, that congratulated Biden and Harris and emphasised to look forward to working together on current issues. Not all European leaders were however happy with this change of office. According to Paul Taylor in Politico, Biden’s victory robs Europe’s illiberal of a cheerleader in the White House. David Herszenhorn writes even as a loser, Trump continues to stir unrest in Europe, with Estonia’s Interior Minister resigning and Slovenia’s prime Minister being criticized after supporting Trump’s claims of election fraud. The Guardian and Independent reveal Johnson’s tweet directed to Biden actually contains hidden Trump congratulations.
Moving to other events that made the press this week. Which topics made the headlines in Italy Erik?
The ‘Saverio Coticelli case has made much of the headlines in the country. The Minister of Health of Calabria, affirmed in an interview with the programme Titolo V in Rai that he did not know that it was up to him to develop an anti-covid protocol. Italian Prime Minister Giusepe Conte announced his imminent sacking via Twitter. Other than that, the coronavirus crisis is triggering another series of unexpected issues in the country, such as the lack of vaccines for the common flu. According to La Republica's headline and as other Italian media report, there will be a shortage of 15 million doses in the Mediterranean country this year.
What about Germany?
Besides the U.S. elections, and the Coronavirus, the German press also paid attention to the surprisingly fast ending of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with the new ceasefire agreement between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to Christian Esch in Der Spiegel, the agreement is robust enough to last. Besides, the German press also reported on the terrorism summit in Paris, and flagged the involvement of the EU in illegal pushbacks of refugees. In a joint research with Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, the ARD and TV Asahi, SPIEGEL revealed that Frontex units are involved in illegal pushbacks. As a response to the report, the European Commission organised an emergency meeting with the head of Frontex.
crédits photo: congerdesign