US election: Europe’s winners and losers

The election of Joe Biden as 46th president of the United States will be cause for celebration in many European capitals — but not all leaders on the old continent will be popping the champagne.

Here are three European winners and losers from the U.S. election.

The winners

Angela Merkel

In keeping with her usual diplomatic style, the German chancellor made clear she was ready to work with any duly elected U.S. president. But there’s no question about how much Merkel dislikes Donald Trump’s erratic style and his nationalist policies. The feeling is mutual: Trump has disparaged Merkel and Germany on multiple occasions during his presidency. At last year’s D-Day commemoration, Trump and Merkel didn’t even shake hands. And last weekend, Trump said Germany — among other countries — “wants to get rid of me.”

Merkel will prefer a Biden presidency not just because she’ll get along better with him personally. Germany depends heavily on a strong and well-functioning transatlantic relationship, for economic and security reasons, and the president-elect is widely expected to restore ties that frayed under Trump. As Merkel plans to step down as chancellor next year — and with all of her potential successors facing questions over whether they are up to the job — restored transatlantic stability will make it much easier for her to ride into the sunset without too many concerns.

Trump’s obsession with Germany’s trade surplus, his tariff threats against German carmakers and a U.S. retreat from multilateral organizations all alarmed Merkel. These issues are now all likely to be less of a problem for Berlin — even though analysts warn that transatlantic relations won’t be as smooth as some in Europe hope.

Mette Frederiksen

The Danish prime minister has a very particular reason to be happy about Trump’s departure: Relations with the U.S.

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