Statement by Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the imminent US elections

08.11.2016 - Press release

I think that not only we here in Europe, but also many Americans, are glad that this unusual election campaign is drawing to a close. However, the campaign also leaves behind a difficult legacy for the person who will bear responsibility as President in the future, as it leaves behind a divided country. It will be hard for any US President to bridge the rifts that have grown even wider between the political camps.

We will be able to foresee the United States’ future foreign policy relations with Europe and Germany as soon as we can discern foreign policy programmes. At the moment, it is being written all over that the United States’ relations with Europe – even if Mrs Clinton wins the election – are bound to become more complicated. I know Hillary Clinton from her time as Secretary of State and I do not have this fear right now. However, I would also like to say that we will now have to wait to see how the foreign policy priorities of the new US Government are defined.

Last week, I described how it is a danger to democracy when we conduct political arguments in terms of animosities only, but never pave the path to the compromises needed in a democracy. I have also said that it is a danger to democracy when we no longer regard a sense of proportion in language and political decisions as an advantage, but rather as a disadvantage. The blatant language and radicalisation that are often welcomed by the public are not always helpful to democratic decision-making – in fact, they are harmful.

That is why I hope and believe that the return to reason also plays a part in upholding democratic conditions.

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