Vienna, 5 November 2008 Press release

Plassnik on Obama’s election: "A sign of confidence in the future"

Foreign Minister on US elections

Vienna, 5 November 2008 - "This is a moment of confidence. This beginning is marked by the special magic of "Yes, we can - we can do it." Barack Obama has won with a clear lead. His election once again links themes such as politics and hope. That is particularly important in the fight against public disillusionment with politics. Particularly young people and those who are discriminated against have the feeling of being included once more," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik in a first response to the outcome of the presidential elections in the United States of America.

"Barack Obama’s victory is a clear sign of confidence in the future - for the USA and the world as a whole. And the world needs this confidence in the future, particularly in this period of insecurity, financial crisis and fears about globalisation," continued Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister said that she also expected the 44th President of the United States of America to bring about "a change of mood and a feeling of togetherness with a clear perspective on the unresolved global challenges such as climate change, financial crisis, disarmament and the strengthening of multilateral cooperation. America must regain the awareness that many positive results can only be achieved through concerted action based on partnership. America should again become the respected, responsible leading power. Both sides - the European Union and the USA – are prepared for a mature partnership. That is also an opportunity for us to pay renewed attention to America and not get bogged down in flat denial."

"But the United States will also have clear expectations of us Europeans and call for our solidarity in contributing to international crisis management in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa," stated Plassnik. With reference to China, India and Russia, however, Plassnik pointed out that both Europe and the USA would have to acknowledge the fact that there had been a drastic shift in influence at the international level. "We shall support our American friends in liberating themselves from old paradigms and seeking pro-active dialogue with difficult partners such as Syria and Iran," affirmed Plassnik.

However, Plassnik emphatically warned against having inflated expectations of the new President. "We must remain sober, even at this moment of American euphoria. As for practical politics, both within the country and at the international level the possibilities are much narrower than some would expect or desire. The Messianic expectations that are being voiced at the moment cannot be fulfilled by any human being. Even Obama cannot walk on water or work miracles," concluded Plassnik.

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