Politics

Greek, British, French, German, Italian and Czech media on Barack Obama's 2012 reelection

Article published on Nov. 7, 2012
Article published on Nov. 7, 2012
'Four more years', he tweeted at around 5am Paris time, although electorally speaking, the president had the cat in the bag not too far on on election night.
With at least 303 votes out of 538 (the threshold was 270, and Mitt Romney won 206), he has been given a second change to change his United States - but will the victorious democrats and losing republicans reach a consensus on the key issue - reducing the public debt?

'It wasn't big or pretty' - The Guardian, United Kingdom

The left-liberal British daily finds Barack Obama's victory all the more admirable considering the precarious economic situation: 'Getting re-elected after a grittily difficult four years was always going to be much harder than getting elected after the economic and military incompetence of the George Bush era. But that is what Barack Obama achieved after a hard pounding campaign and a nail biting contest. His victory wasn't big. It wasn't pretty. It didn't break the mould. It certainly wasn't inspirational in the way that his win in 2008 was. In places it was wafer-thin. But it was a US presidential win all the same. And the win in 2012 matters just as much as the earlier win did in 2008. In difficult times, it is even, arguably, a greater political achievement. If Mr Obama's first presidential election victory was a triumph of the audacity of hope, his second is a triumph for the audacity of good electoral judgment in difficult times. The rest of the world will celebrate that'

Read 'US elections: a victory for Barack Obama and good judgement' in full on The Guardian's US elections blog section

'Americans preferred less-than-perfect results' - Libération, France

Obama has been re-elected despite the crisis, the French left-liberal daily rejoices, and hopes for even more thoroughgoing reforms in his second term: 'Obama has succeeded where Nicolas Sarkozy, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Gordon Brown failed. He has got himself re-elected in the middle of a major economic crisis. The Americans preferred the less-than-perfect results and even the somewhat uncertain projects of their president to the dubious and risky economic policy of his republican adversaries. And rightly so. He steered his country clear of economic collapse, he reformed the healthcare system and saved the automotive sector, all the while maintaining civilised relations with the rest of the world. Now, free of any worries about re-election, he must show that he can still change his country for the better' (François Sergent)

Read 'Changer' on Libération online

'Time to tackle immigration reform' - taz, Germany

In his second term of office Obama will have more freedom to take the offensive, the German left-leaning daily writes, hoping he will finally 'tackle the immigration reform as he promised back in 2008, to offer the more than 12 millionimmigrants without papers in the country a legal future. This issue is also a good one for breaking the republican ranks: faced with a constantly growing Hispanic electorate in the key states they can no longer afford to maintain their tough stance. But above all a president who no longer needs to worry about being re-elected is free to be true to his principles, to seek conflict with congress and win - rather than giving it up as a lost battle right from the start. The republicans will say that as the president of a divided nation Obama has no mandate for a left-liberal course - and they would be right. But nor did George W. Bush have a mandate for a right-wing course, yet he demonstrated how a presidency can shift a country to the right. It's high time for a change in course' (Bernd Pickert)

Read more from taz online

'US deficit 10% of GDP; must be cut by 4 trillion dollars' - Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy

Now that he has been re-elected Barack Obama should immediately reach an agreement with his political opponents on reducing the country's debt, otherwise the US threatens to fall off the so-called "fiscal cliff", when automatic government spending cuts kick in at the start of 2013, the Italian liberal-conservative business paper writes: 'The US budget is facing the sword of Damocles, the fiscal cliff. Tomorrow the new president must convene congress to find a compromise along the lines of the summer 2011 agreement. The problem is too urgent to be held hostage by politics and ideologies, because one thing's for sure: the republicans will have the majority in congress again. The battles of opinion over taxes and spending were just a waste of time. Stop the game of ring-a-ring-o'-roses now. Stop the farce over the US going 'bankrupt' because of the failure to impose a debt ceiling. The US deficit, which has reached 10 percent of the GDP, must be cut by 4 trillion dollars. Restoring the economy to health can only be achieved through cutting social expenditure and raising taxes for the top income classes' (Mario Platero)

Read more from Il Sole 24 Ore online

'Obama's foreign policy pushed Europe aside in favour of Asia' - Hospodářské noviny, Czech Republic

The Europeans' delight at Barack Obama's re-election is not entirely understandable as far as the online edition of the Czech business paper is concerned: 'For the supporters of traditional transatlantic relations, Obama's re-election is actually bad news. Obama's foreign policy has pushed Europe aside in favour of Asia. But for their part, apart from sharing the same values as the US, the Europeans don't really have anything to offer Obama. They have failed to pull themselves out of the economic, currency and integration crises. So for the white house this raises the question of why the new/old president should help the continent recover by fostering a special relationship with it. Obama's stance on Europe during his second term of office is likely to be even more sceptical and dismissive'

Read more from Hospodářské noviny online

'Thorn in German government's side' - To Vima Online, Greece

Germany is not so happy about Obama's win, the online paper claims, hoping that the new-old president will prevent Europe from being turned into a German colony: 'Obama's re-election is a thorn in the German government's side. It believes Romney, as a proponent of extreme liberalism, would be better and more suited to Germany's interests. Obama bothers the German government because more than once he has tried to 'brake' the Greek disaster. Moreover he doesn't believe the austerity drive can 'save' the countries and economies. Obama and Merkel, the US and the 'German Europe', are now entering a new phase in their relations. No one can predict where it will lead - precisely because Berlin is sticking so doggedly to its course. Obama must now decide whether he will allow Europe to be turned into a German 'colony', as Germany, aided by the debt crisis, has been trying to do for the past three years' (Giorgos Malouchos)

Read 'Ομπάμα «2» και Μέρκελ' in full on To Vima Online

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Images: main (cc) Barack Obama/ flickr/ video: victory speech (cc) TheNewYorkTimes/ youtube