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Europe

Opinion: Clinton's European Visit Marks a New Beginning

Europe's enthusiasm over Hillary Clinton can practically be cut with a knife. Some are a bit too excited about the new US administration, says DW's Christoph Hasselbach, but this may be the beginning of something good.

Opinion

Such a relaxed atmosphere and so much applause and smiling -- Hillary Clinton's visit with her NATO counterparts and the EU in Brussels was like one big party. Europe's relief over the change in the White House can be tangibly felt in Europe. Following the arrogance of the Bush years, now it's time for true cooperation. It's as though the entire continent has let out a big sigh and wants to give Hillary a big hug.

Her visit in Brussels and the overall effect of Obama's administration in Europe stand in stark contrast to the previous administration, particularly when it comes to tone. But people are already asking critical questions here: Is it all just talk? And are the Bush and Obama governments really that different from one another when it comes down to daily business? The real proof remains to be seen, since Obama has only been in office for a few weeks.

Clinton herself brought a serious note to the air of exuberance. "We don't have a choice, we have to come together," she said, pointing to the worst economic crisis in decades. Just understanding each other isn't enough. Politicians don't come together to say how much they like each other. They have an obligation to solve problems. But it's an enormous help if the chemistry is already there.

A little too much chemistry?

However, it's a little strange that the chemistry here seems to be so right across the board. The enthusiasm in Europe is so ubiquitous that it's suspicious. Perhaps the most significant -- and the most suspicious -- is that from the leading British politicians. Suddenly they find everything that Obama says great, while they used to find everything that Bush said great.

Despite some opportunism on the European side, there truly is a stronger connection between the US and Europe. This must be used to combat the crisis. In a dire situation, both sides not only recognize that they need each other, but also how much they have in common and that they can do more together than they can alone.

Looking back on it, this global financial crisis just might prove to be the birth of a new trans-Atlantic partnership.

Author: Christoph Hasselbach

Editor: Kate Bowen

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