• Monday, Mar 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:56 pm

European public optimistic on Biden, concerned about US democracy

  • Published at 10:03 pm January 20th, 2021
Joe Biden
File photo of US President-elect Joe Biden announces nominees and appointees to serve on his health and coronavirus response teams during a news conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, US, December 8, 2020. Reuters

The survey also found widespread concerns of European people about the overall health of US democracy after the mob attack on US Capitol

The European public is strongly supportive of US President-elect Joe Biden but is increasingly concerned about democracy in the United States following Donald Trump's tumultuous tenure, a survey said on Tuesday.

On the eve of Biden's inauguration, the Pew Research Center said 79% in Germany, 72% in France and 65% in Britain were confident that Biden would make the right decisions in world affairs.

It was a dramatic turnaround from Trump, who enjoyed the confidence of a mere 10% of Germans, 11% of French and 19% of Brits when the same question was asked in mid-2020.

But the survey also found widespread concerns about the overall health of US democracy after Trump contested his defeat with false allegations of voter fraud, culminating in a January 6 mob attack on the US Capitol and ultra-tight security for Biden's inauguration.

Some 73% of Germans, 64% of French and 62% of the British think the US political system needs major changes or complete reform, said the survey, which polled 3,066 adults from November 12 to December 23 -- before the Capitol attack.

Richard Wike, the director of global attitudes research at Pew, said the findings showed that the US image can bounce back -- much as Barack Obama enjoyed glowing approval in Europe after widespread criticism of his predecessor George W Bush.

"There's something of a reservoir of goodwill, I think, in these countries toward America that remains there even during times when people aren't very happy with the US or the president's foreign policies," he told reporters.

"But what's going to happen this time around -- do these concerns about the health of American democracy start eroding the overall perception of the United States? I think those are open questions."

Trump smashed through diplomatic protocol by openly criticizing the leaders of close allies -- especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose policies regarding migrants were denounced by Trump.

The survey, however, found that even a narrow majority of supporters of Germany's far-right AfD party had a favourable view of Biden.

Biden's ratings were slightly lower in Britain than in Germany and France, which survey analysts said may be attributable to his open criticism of the country's exit from the European Union and firm stance on Northern Ireland.

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