The EU smells trouble and Trump in the US abortion fight – POLITICO

That explosive news That the US Supreme Court should reverse abortion rights greeted Europe’s eastern rim at dawn and echoed across the continent all day: Once again, America plunged into a partisan, inward-looking culture war on an issue that hung over most of the western world concerns considered as a private health matter.

Only this time it happened with a real war raging in Ukraine at a moment when the world, especially Europe, could hardly afford to distract Washington.

“My first thought was: Back to the Middle Ages,” said a senior government official from an Eastern European country, a woman who, like most officials and diplomats contacted for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid that transatlantic relations will be shaken up.

“Great day for far right in US and Eastern Europe; bleak day for women’s rights and progress,” the senior official said. “That’s the core message.” But the same official said she had contacts who were celebrating on social media, including one who wrote, “In that decision alone, having Trump as president has paid off.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Liberal MEP, shared the news on her Twitter feed before most of her constituents had their first cup of coffee.

“Women’s rights thrown back a century”, in ‘t Veld wrote. “Conservative judges executing Trump’s agenda to restore patriarchy. And don’t be under any illusions: the anti-choice movement is also on the rise in Europe. Our hard-won rights must be vigorously defended!”

Not long after, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, a centre-right conservative from Malta, where abortion is illegal, gave an interview to French radio station RTL in which she insisted that the EU’s position in favor of abortion rights be clarified may be.

“We can discuss the US position,” Metsola said. “But here in Europe there is no discussion.”

In fact, there are still some very serious discussions about abortion in Europe.

Metsola’s own record of voting against abortion rights was the main controversy surrounding her candidacy for the leadership of Parliament. Metsola, a 43-year-old mother of four, partially sidestepped the issue by stressing that Brussels doesn’t set rules on abortion in the EU, where health policy is largely run by national governments.

There is also a fierce and divisive debate about abortion in Poland, where the government has enacted a near-total ban on abortion, with few exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. Poland’s abortion ban has created additional ones Complications for Ukrainian refugees fleeing war, including victims of sexual assault by Russian soldiers who cannot readily document reporting a crime.

Some officials in Europe were quick to condemn the upcoming US court decision and voiced their support for women’s rights.

“London stands with women in the United States today,” Mayor of the British capital Sadiq Khan said. tweeted early Tuesday. “Roe v Wade enshrined women’s fundamental rights to their own bodies and access to health care. This cannot and must not be reversed.”

For many EU officials and diplomats, the news from the Supreme Court was an alarming reminder not only of former President Donald Trump’s legacy in transforming the US judiciary, but also of the very real chance that he would return to the White House in 2025 could.

And it was also a reminder that the US is entering – or has already entered – a high-level and contentious midterm election campaign. Republicans had long been expected to gain control of both houses of Congress, although the fight for abortion rights could now play an unpredictable role in congressional elections across the country.

In any case, the start of the US political season suggested that President Joe Biden’s much-hyped return to the world stage – far from being a restoration of proactive, internationalist US foreign policy – would end up being an extremely short-lived 18th to be 24 months cameo followed by a Trump sequel: Make America Great Again, Again.

“A taste of what’s to come in two years,” said a Western Europe-based diplomat, whose first reaction to news of the abortion verdict was an exclamation about sacred feces.

This diplomat said the abortion controversy is for Europe “a harbinger of the dilemma we face: are we content to be the appendage of US foreign policy, or are we actually investing in a European capacity to compete among them ? Rule of law and autocracy?”

At the same time, said this diplomat, the fact that Trump and his tens of millions of supporters remain a powerful political force in the US could provide impetus for the EU to unite, particularly in the areas of security and defense.

“So far, the US is probably the biggest beneficiary of the war in Ukraine,” the diplomat said. “The US diversion may pause just in time … for leaders to actually have a serious discussion about our own capacity. The answer to the above dilemma will shape the discussion for years to come.”

Maïa de la Baume contributed to the coverage. The EU smells trouble and Trump in the US abortion fight – POLITICO

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