Europe congratulates Biden (and itself)

Across Europe, the congratulations for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden started flowing within minutes of the race being called, but it was clear that European leaders were also toasting themselves, the end of the Trump era, and the prospect of a renewal of transatlantic relations.

With President Donald Trump still claiming fraud and refusing to concede, many European leaders cast aside caution and diplomatic protocol to swiftly send their good wishes to Biden, the former vice president and longtime senator who is well known across the Continent.

“I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA Joe Biden,” Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin tweeted at 5:37 p.m. Central European Time, just 15 minutes after CNN became the first news network to project the Democratic nominee had finally won after four days of vote counting.

“Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” Martin wrote. “I also look forward to welcoming him back home when the circumstances allow!”

In a fuller statement, Martin noted Biden’s Irish family heritage. “This is a particularly special day for the people of County Louth and of County Mayo who count President-elect Biden among their own,” he said. But it was less the family connection and more Biden’s repeated statements in support of the Good Friday Agreement and, more broadly, U.S. Democrats’ backing of Ireland in the context of Brexit that gave Martin reasons to take the lead among Europeans wishing well to Biden, and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Within moments, however, the congratulatory messages were popping across the Continent, like Champagne corks on New Year’s Eve — from Scotland’s first minister,

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