Wednesday, November 05, 2008

European Leaders Cheer Obama Victory

Link to my article which appeared on CNS News on November 5th:

Dusseldorf, Germany ( – The election of a new American president always prompts diplomatic congratulations from European leaders, but Barack Obama’s victory prompted effusive reactions on Wednesday.

His victory was an outcome few here doubted and most wished for.

Many of the messages were little more than bland bromides – the Europeans expressing hope that Obama will restore the sense of common purpose many believe was damaged during the Bush presidency.

The president of the European Union’s executive Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, spoke of “a time for renewed commitment between Europe and the United States of America,” adding that this would be “for the benefit of our societies, for the benefit of the world.”

Pointing to the global financial crisis, Barroso called for “a new deal for a new world.”

A similar message came from French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America’s identity, have expressed with force their faith in progress and the future.”

Sarkozy, who also holds the rotating European Union presidency, said the election had “raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond.” And to Obama, he said, “By choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she looked forward to Europe and the U.S. working together “closely and in a spirit of mutual trust ... to confront new dangers and risks and ... seize the opportunities presented by our global world.”

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said that in addition to confronting “the financial crisis and worsening economic situation” the next U.S. administration would also need to address “the struggle against terrorism, climate change, human rights and free world trade.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Obama had run “an inspirational campaign, energizing politics with his progressive values and his vision for the future.” He said the relationship between the U.S. and Britain was “vital to our prosperity and security.”

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said he looked forward to a renewed partnership in “the cause of freedom, of peace, of a secure and unified, just world order.”

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi voiced the hope that Obama as president would “be able to meet the expectations and hopes directed at him.”

The Vatican also hoped that Obama would respect “essential human and spiritual values,” Lombardi said.

Although the Holy See did not weigh in during the election campaign, a number of Catholic bishops in the U.S. did raise concerns about Obama’s liberal views on abortion, saying the issue should outweigh others for Catholic voters.

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