CESI’s Vice President Roberto Di Maulo on the 2020 US Presidential election: Biden’s victory is a healthy element for Europe

The long nights spent watching the various US TVs that updated us on the progress of the tallying of the presidential elections of the 46th US President ended with a victory of the Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris: this is an important fact for the whole world, but in particular for Europe. European workers hail the successful election of Joe Biden as a very positive fact.

It is difficult to underestimate the influence of the United States on the Old Continent, both in terms of customs and technology. The US is the world’s leading economy, it ranks first as oil producers, in military spending and as arms exporters, but above all, it plays a primary role in trade with our continent. Before the unfortunate introduction of duty tariffs on European products, wanted by Trump’s administration, Europe boasted a primary role as a net exporter, with an important trade balance in our favour that ranked us at the top and practically made the Atlantic the main commercial outlet for our goods, as well as sealing that historic alliance that has contributed so much to over 70 years of peace in our continent. The Atlantic alliance has always been a strong bulwark of progress and prosperity in democracy. Therefore, everything that happens on the other side of the Atlantic affects us closely, with consequences that are reflected on a global scale.

All of this, in recent years due to a rather short-sighted policy of Trump’s administration, was in danger of being questioned and the isolationism strongly implemented by Trump has favoured the spread of populist and sovereign behaviour with the risk of going backwards, moving away from that state solidarity that has permeated Western democracy for hundreds of years.

In this very complicated phase, with the times dictated by the expansion of the COVID 19 pandemic, Europe has managed to make a leap forward represented by the measures launched with SURE, the EMS and Next Generation EU. The new US administration can accompany this solidarity vision that is prevailing in Europe with a renewed lifeforce for an Atlantic alliance that can face the titanic challenges of tomorrow, starting from climate change, with a spirit that seemed to be no longer there if we look back just a year ago.

Giving hope back to the younger generations, hope for development and employment and for a future less uncertain and less marked by precariousness: where the strongest do not prevail, but where there are joint forces for a better tomorrow. The new Europe and the new America can and must make this effort, overcoming the logic of customs duties and the reconstruction of walls once demolished like that of Berlin in 1989. A tomorrow made of bridges and not of walls, where being open constitutes the basis for new opportunities, especially for those who have been excluded, starting from the young, from women who do not have gender equality, from the old who too often are left alone.

For this reason, CESI, an independent trade union, but not divorced from politics, welcomes the election of Biden and Harris to lead the world’s largest democracy.

In an international key, Biden could mend relations with China, bring the United States back into the Paris climate agreement, but we know well that the concept of “America First” was not born with Trump, but had already been hovering in US society for some time. Just as we are aware that with the end of the Cold War, which guaranteed US support for the democratic countries of Europe, today that support will no longer be taken for granted as it was until the 90s. Europe must be able to conquer a central role in the world’s chessboard, strengthening the Atlantic axis by building new models of collaboration and prospect, giving the free trade area those opportunities for mutual convenience that also meet the expectations of millions of Americans, as well as European citizens.

The new spirit launched by European governments with Next Generation EU could be able to take up the challenge of a new Atlantic alliance based no longer on assistance from the American giant, but the basis of new reciprocity and opportuneness for both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is certainly a complicated challenge, but the election of Biden and Harris allows us to face it in the aim of a new frontier that reshapes a better world than the one that the future would have given us if the American electoral test had gone differently.

Roberto Di Maulo

CESI Vice President