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Germany, Europe see little hope for Trump policy change after US midterm election

Berlin isn't expecting Trump to change his "America First" stance following the US midterm elections, Germany's foreign minister said. Other German and European politicians hailed the results as a setback for Trump. Although Democrats made electoral gains in Tuesday's midterm elections, officials in Germany and other European Union countries said they do not believe the results will prompt a change in US President Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy. "It would be a mistake to expect a course correction from Donald Trump now," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. He emphasized that the United States remains Germany's closest partner outside of Europe, but in order to maintain that partnership he said, "We will have to recalibrate and adjust our relationship with the USA." The Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday's polls, but Trump's Republicans strengthened their grip on power in the Senate. The transatlantic coordinator for the German government, Peter Beyer, was also skeptical that Tuesday's election results will ease Europe's worries, particularly since NATO matters and international trade are under the jurisdiction of the Republican-controlled Senate. "I don't think we should expect too much from this outcome and the impact on us," Beyer told German public broadcaster ZDF. EU politicians praise Democrat wins Frans Timmermans, the vice president of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that US voters "chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination." "They stood up for their values. And so will we," the Dutch politician added, looking ahead to the European Parliament elections in 2019. Pierre Moscovici, a former French finance minister who is the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, made an ironic comment about Trump's claim of "tremendous success" in the election. "The Democrats win the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years despite powerful Republican gerrymandering," Moscovici wrote on Twitter. "Donald Trump is right: 'Tremendous success tonight.'" Manfred Weber, a German politician who heads up the European Parliament's center-right European People's Party (EPP), said the results were a "mixed signal." With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, pushing through Trump's legislative agenda will now be harder, Weber told local public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk, adding that Republicans and Democrats will have to work together to find solutions and "that is perhaps the good news of the day." Good day for democracy in America' Some in Germany saw the election results as an opportunity to forge better ties with Congress, and possibly block actions from Trump that could negatively impact Europe. "Now there are more people in office who might be more open to having a constructive dialogue with Europeans and I think Germans will use that opportunity," Daniela Schwarzer, Director at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) told DW. Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc in parliament, said Germany needs to quickly line-up talks with the new members of Congress in Washington. Berlin especially needs to make clear the "the importance of the transatlantic relationship" to the new representatives and senators, he told public broadcaster SWR. Annalena Baerbock, the co-leader of the Greens, hailed the election as a "good day for democracy in America," adding that the results show "that discriminatory rhetoric and policies of marginalization do not win over the majority." Overall, Democratic candidates for Congress won nearly 14 million votes more than Republican nominees. Backing for Trump came from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), who congratulated the US leader on his victory in the Senate, saying the results were due to his "successful economic and migration policy," reported DW's Thomas Sparrow.

Berlin isn’t expecting Trump to change his “America First” stance following the US midterm elections, Germany’s foreign minister said. Other German and European politicians hailed the results as a setback for Trump. Although Democrats made electoral gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections, officials in Germany and other European Union countries said they do not believe the results will prompt a change ... Read More »

US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to back nuclear deal with Iran

A key US politician has become the 27th Senate Democrat to back the nuclear agreement with Iran made with world powers in July. Harry Reid's support will make it difficult for Congress to block the deal. Harry Reid is the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate and he expressed his backing for the Iran nuclear deal in a press statement on Sunday: "I strongly support the historic agreement with Iran and will do everything in my power to ensure that it stands," Reid wrote. The Senate and House of Representatives plan to vote by September 17 on a "resolution of disapproval" to the deal reached between Iran and the world group headed by the US with Germany, the EU and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council. The resoluton was brought by Republicans. Reid added that the agreement was "the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon." "First, this is a good agreement on the merits, imposing the toughest inspections and verification regime in history, and a diplomatic solution is certainly less costly in American blood and treasure than any possible military option," Reid said. "Second, if the Senate rejects this agreement, the international community will not support an attempt to secure another and they will not support the sanctions regime. Those are hard facts," he added. With 27 lawmakers backing the deal, its Republican opponents will find it difficult to reach the numbers they need in the Senate for their resolution. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said House Democratic supporters have the votes necessary to sustain Obama's veto despite unanimous Republican opposition to the agreement. Republicans, and the Israeli government, have criticized the deal which they believe makes too many concessions to Iran.

A key US politician has become the 27th Senate Democrat to back the nuclear agreement with Iran made with world powers in July. Harry Reid’s support will make it difficult for Congress to block the deal. Harry Reid is the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate and he expressed his backing for the Iran nuclear deal in a press statement ... Read More »

Japan’s Abe makes historic speech to US Congress

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has addressed both houses of the US Congress, making him the first Japanese prime minister in history to do so. In his speech he offered "eternal condolences" for Japan's actions in World War II. "History is harsh," declared Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, as he became the first Japanese prime minister ever to address a joint meeting of the US Congress. Speaking in English, Japan's leader emphasized the strong friendship forged between the two nations out of the embers of brutal battles like Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima. Abe offered a solemn apology for his nation's actions during the war, saying: "On behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all the American people that were lost during World War II." He did not, however, offer an apology for the sexual enslavement of Asian women by the Japanese Imperial Army during the conflict, despite calls from the US, South Korea, and Germany to do so. Later in his speech, he commented that "armed conflicts have always made women suffer the most," though without directly referencing the Second World War. The prime minister also hailed how "enemies that had fought each other so fiercely have become friends bonded in spirit….What should we call this, if not a miracle of history?" His speech was met with smiles and applause from both Democrats and Republicans, who lined up to shake Abe's hand. Obama, Abe push trade deal Before his arrival on Capitol Hill, Abe paid a visit to Washington's World War II memorial, laying a wreath and reflecting on the 400,000 American war dead with, in his own words, "deep repentance." Abe's visit falls amidst a brutal battle in Washington over a 12-nation Pacific trade deal, the TTP, that has provoked opposition both in Congress and in Japan. A key point of Obama's second-term agenda, unusually it is his own Democrats who oppose the deal, while Republicans support the pact. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Obama told reporters that "it's never fun to pass a trade bill in this town," while Abe urged support for the pact which he said had "awesome" long-term strategic value in addition to spreading values of democracy and freedom.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has addressed both houses of the US Congress, making him the first Japanese prime minister in history to do so. In his speech he offered “eternal condolences” for Japan’s actions in World War II. “History is harsh,” declared Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, as he became the first Japanese prime minister ever to address a joint meeting ... Read More »

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