An unacceptable and unprecedented attack on democracy, the result of extreme and violent rhetoric, but one that America’s democracy is strong enough to overcome. This is how the leaders of the European Union described the assault on the Capitol by the followers of Donald Trump the night that the Senate had to ratify the victory of Joe Biden in the elections last November.
While the images of dozens of people breaking into the house of American democracy filled the screens of half the world, the reactions of the leaders of the European Union began to arrive in droves, who recognized themselves astonished at the deterioration of the situation in the United States. The statements sound like similar events in other countries, but it is difficult to imagine that this time they refer to Washington. Chancellor Angela Merkel showed indignation and sadness at the images of the assault and has pointedly pointed out the person responsible, Donald Trump, whom she accuses of having fed the coup rhetoric since November.
I deeply regret that President Trump has continued since November without accepting his defeat and that has naturally created an atmosphere that makes violent incidents possible, Merkel said in a statement. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven also stuck out his accusing finger. President Trump and many members of Congress have a great responsibility for what is happening now, said Löfven.
Slovak President Zuzana Caputová warned that the scenes seen in the Capitol show how dangerous the rhetoric of hate is. Disregard for democratic institutions erodes the rights of citizens and can undermine the political order, insisted Caputová. Extremism, violence, and polarization are never the way to go, said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the same terms, Violence is incompatible with the exercise of democratic rights, added Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
A video of almost two and a half minutes, at dawn, was dedicated to him by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron. In a speech in which he referred to the historic friendship between the two countries and insisted that France was ready to offer its strongest support to the American people, Macron warned that when in one of the oldest democracies in the world, the followers of the outgoing president take up arms and question the legitimacy of an election, the universal idea of ’one person, one vote’ is in jeopardy. A wake-up call to a Europe that looks in amazement at the outbreaks of violence in the United States but has seen similar far-right movements grow in its territory in recent years.
The rhetoric among European leaders was very similar throughout the night. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz spoke of the unacceptable attack on democracy, the Belgian Alexander de Croo was shocked and incredulous at the attacks on the Capital, the Luxembourgish Xavier Bettel, of a heinous attack on the foundations of democracy, shameful, added the British PM Boris Johnson. The irruption of the rioters in Congress is a very serious and worrying matter, acknowledged the Finnish premier Sanna Marin and even one of the Union’s infant terrible, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, acknowledged that what was happening in the United States is an unacceptable and unprecedented attack, and proceeded to change his profile picture in Twitter, where he previously appeared with the famous red cap worn by Trump supporters.
In the eyes of the world, American democracy is being assaulted, said the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The leaders of the institutions also reacted to the attempted coup in the US. The president of the European Council, Charles Michel said that he was in shock and recalled that the United States Congress is a temple of democracy. The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the first to react, showed his support for Nancy Pelosi through an email. Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for respect for the election results.
The jarring note in addition to Hungarian Viktor Orban’s loud silence was delivered by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, who has shown their support for Trump and his fraud allegations on numerous occasions. For Duda, what is happening in the US is an internal matter and he trusts the power of American democracy, but he avoided condemning the violence of the assault. Janša, for his part, said that we should all be concerned about the violence in Washington but showed his confidence in the US democratic system, and later added that violence and death threats, from the left or the right, they are always wrong. And I continue to spread messages that support Trump’s fraud thesis that has already been dismissed.
EU leaders insisted as a bloc on the need to ensure a peaceful transition to the Biden administration. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte lamented the horrible images in Washington and urged Trump to recognize and recognize the result of the elections. Dear Donald Trump, recognize Joe Biden as President today, he bluntly wrote on his Twitter account. For her part, the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, defended the strength of American institutions and the importance of a peaceful transition.
The US will open in less than two weeks, as it should be, a new chapter in its democracy, Merkel said. Trump has promised to guarantee the transfer of powers tonight, although without renouncing to continue his fight to make America great again, and there are still thirteen days left.