May conservative taxes

Hillary instead of tea party : Europe's conservatives no longer like republicans

In itself, the party landscape in the USA cannot be compared with that in Europe. In spite of this, the democrats have always been assigned to the social-democratic and the republicans to the Christian-democratic, conservative camp. At least that was true of the past.

In 1976, when the European People's Party (EPP) was founded as the common platform of the center parties for the European Parliament and in 1978 the European Democratic Union (EDU) as the umbrella organization of European Christian Democrats and center-right parties, Ronald Reagan and George Bush were the party friends.

This was also reflected in the contact between the party institutions. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation of the CDU in Bonn, the Hanns Seidel Foundation of the CSU in Munich and the Political Academy of the ÖVP in Vienna mainly maintained close contacts with the Heritage Foundation of the Republican Party in Washington. In contrast, the Socialist International had a preference for the Brookings Institution, the think tank of the Democratic Party.

The old red-black cliché is history

However, there has been a change in the last 15 years. For example, parliamentarians increasingly began to exchange ideas intensively with both parties in the US Congress. In EPP circles it is very openly said that today, as then, the Democrats can no longer be called the "red" and the Republicans the "black" party. It is also added that there is a certain amount of sympathy for President Barack Obama's policies, his social commitment, but considerable criticism of some of the political actions and foreign policy positions of the Republicans, especially their almost uncompromising economic liberalism.

In addition, the Republican wing, also known as the tea party, with its particularly conservative and populist demands, does not fit into today's social model of the European central parties. Last but not least, the current selection process for the presidential candidacy does not leave the impression that a trustworthy leader is emerging from the competition. On the other hand, so the impression of the experienced foreign politicians, Hillary Clinton is dealing with a well-known, experienced and respected politician.

Union voters would vote for Obama

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also said to be of the same opinion. The CDU should now be guided by this, if one follows reports from the weekend. The deputy CDU chairman Armin Laschet stated: "The basic tone of the republicans today does not fit with Christian democracy. The republicans are fighting the social market economy by demanding tax gifts for the super-rich on the one hand and wanting to abolish health insurance themselves on the other." The former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ruprecht Polenz, sums up the current position: "Even the Union voters would have voted for Obama with an overwhelming majority."

It is not yet possible to say whether the other parties in the EPP think the same way. The People's Party in Vienna is keeping a low profile for the time being. There is a similar reaction in other party headquarters, which are a little surprised and unprepared by the advance from Berlin.

In Brussels, on the other hand, they point out that there is a good relationship with both US parties and that they no longer fit into the old red-black caste thinking. An explanation that rather indicates that one does not really want to commit, wait for developments and, above all, do not want to obstruct future options by hastily making decisions. Which should not prevent anyone from expressing sympathy. Whether, and if at all, the Europeans will position themselves, then this will probably require a board decision by the EPP. Such is not on the agenda, at least for the moment.

Published by Euractiv. The Tagesspiegel and the European-political online magazine EurActiv cooperate with each other.

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