Europe Cheers President Obama

Posted by Renee Earle
January 21, 2009
Newspaper Headlines in Brussels on January 21

About the Author: Renee Earle serves as Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.

Hello from Brussels, the administrative capital of the European Union, and, for many, the heart of Europe. Last night, that heart was broadly given to our new President, Barack Obama.

TV channels across Europe carried the ceremonies, and this morning it was hard to find a newspaper without a front cover carrying the image of the U.S. inauguration. Some papers ran 20 pages of coverage, and “open letters” from Foreign Ministers and school children detailed recommendations and aspirations for a world that can be renewed. From small towns to the European Union’s principal institutions, all shared in the significance of the moment. Braine- le-Comte, a small town south of Brussels, gathered its citizens around a large-screen showing of the inauguration in its town square while Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, issued a public statement: “I personally believe that the election of President Obama was a defining, turning point for America. It may now also be an important turning point for the rest of the world.”

Both the U.S. Mission to the EU and our “bilat,” the U.S. Embassy in Belgium, hosted standing-room-only receptions to view the inauguration. Smilingly enthusiastic, our European guests, like the editorial comment across Europe and Belgian Defense Minister, Pieter De Crem, in his speech at the Embassy event, hailed a new era, a renewal of America and its place in the world. European officials, media, NGO leaders and other friends tried also to focus some attention on the challenges ahead and the great, perhaps unrealistic, expectations for one president, who would have to be “a cross between Gandhi and Superman,” but last night the emphasis was on jubilation and hope. This morning, an email from a European think tank contact summed up the feelings, “You may not believe it yet, but America is back.”



Tennessee, USA
January 21, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

This simply goes to show one of the upsides of our many problems: No matter the political views, no matter the economics, no matter the wars, no matter the apparent greed and hypocrisy within our shores:

America is still looked to for HOPE when the lights dim, by the entire world.

District Of Columbia, USA
January 21, 2009

Schmetterling in Washington, DC writes:

EXCELLENT BLOG! I've worked in Brussels, my best friends (American) work in Brussels and live in Waterloo (very near Braine le Comte-I know it well-it seems to be an AmEmbassy stronghold-I like it because I like the world "braine"-in the name of the town-which of course is probably an Old French word that no one knows the meaning but I still like to call it "brain" in English)

I was just in Amsterdam two weeks ago, so I enjoy seeing the front pages of the Flemish newspapers-all we can say is, OH HAPPY HAPPY DAY! Een gelukkig gelukkig Dag! Vraiment, un moment historique pour tout le monde!


New Mexico, USA
January 22, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

[This morning, an email from a European think tank contact summed up the feelings, "You may not believe it yet, but America is back."]

I've got news for folks.

We never left.

Maryland, USA
January 22, 2009

Howard in Maryland writes:

Open up trade, culture, travel, entertainment, sports, education, relations with Cuba.

January 22, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Some think [and they still attempt to make us believe so] that America "threw in the towel a bit early."
AMERICA is/was here! And, never left the "building."

After all, U.S. and the "founding values of America" is our only hope for a better world!

God Bless and Good Luck to the new Administration!

P.S.: is the cat OK? ..LOL

Illinois, USA
January 22, 2009

Julie in Illinois writes:

This is good to hear. Thanks so much for this post.


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