EU official takes swipe at Trump amid largely muted global reaction

BRUSSELS • Global reactions to the outcome of the US midterm elections this week have been largely muted, though a top European Union (EU) official hailed the Democratic victories and took a swipe at what he called "rudeness" and "racism" under US President Donald Trump.

"Inspired by voters in the US who chose hope over fear, civility over rudeness, inclusion over racism, equality over discrimination," former Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans, who is first vice-president of the European Commission (EC), tweeted yesterday.

"They stood up for their values. And so will we," he added.

Campaigning is getting under way in Europe for May's European Parliament elections, in which Mr Timmermans is leading the campaign for the centre-left.

There was no immediate official comment from EC president Jean-Claude Juncker or the EC as an institution, Reuters reported.

Mr Trump's criticisms of the EU, his policies in the Middle East and threats of a trade war against the union worry EU leaders.

Mr Juncker secured a deal with Mr Trump in July to stave off new US tariffs on EU goods, but relations remain tense.

In comments after Democrats seized control of the Lower House in Tuesday's elections, Russia said yesterday it did not foresee bilateral ties improving any time soon.


"Rosy prospects for the normalisation of Russian-US ties are not visible on the horizon," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He insisted, however, that Russia still wanted dialogue with the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying did not comment directly on the election outcome, CBC reported. But she said that "regardless of the result... we believe the two governments and the two peoples all want to maintain the sound and steady development of bilateral relations because we believe it is in the best interests of the international community".

China is locked in a trade war with the US, which has imposed tariffs on US$250 billion (S$342 billion) worth of Chinese goods this year. China has struck back with retaliatory duties on US$110 billion worth of US goods.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'EU official takes swipe at Trump amid largely muted global reaction'. Print Edition | Subscribe