Expecting the unexpected

The US presidential election has been a major topic of interest during the past autumn here at Miltton. Now that the results of the probably most thrilling presidential race in history are in, it is time to take a step back and reflect on the implications of Donald Trump’s victory. Last week Miltton brought together public and private sector actors to discuss the effects that Trump’s win might have on the transatlantic relationship.

The discussion centered on whether Trump’s victory would introduce uncertainty into the transatlantic relationship. EU-US relations are on a solid basis but it remains unclear what the policy priorities of the President-elect are. TTIP, the EU-US free trade agreement, could be on hold for some time. Also EU-US cooperation to resolve crises in European neighborhoods such as Ukraine, the Mediterranean, and Syria is under question.

Despite these uncertainties, NATO seems to be on a strong footing. So even if Trump’s victory means uncertainty in some areas, there will be continuity in others. One administration will not be able to change all fundamental principles underlying the transatlantic relationship and judging from Trump’s recent remarks, there is also no interest in doing so.

Trump won the election based on his unconventional rhetoric that appealed to a major part of the electorate. In the run-up to the election day, there were signs that he could win, but many onlookers dismissed them.

In Europe, it is time to pose ourselves the question of how we interpret the signals of US politics this time around. Are we able to anticipate the future trends of the transatlantic relationship or will we be in for a big surprise on January 20th?

The seminar was held on December 8th and our key note speakers included former Prime Minister and the Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Matti Vanhanen, the Ambassador of the United States to Finland Charles C. Adams, and the Head of World News and Current Affairs at YLE Elina Ravantti. The seminar was hosted by the CEO of Miltton Brussels and former Permanent Representative of Finland to the European Union Jan Store.