by N. Peter Kramer reporting from Washington DC
The question is, what will matter the most if the Republicans take over one or both chambers of the US Congress. It appears that the House of Representatives will have, almost guaranteed, a Republican majority; for the Senate it will be a close finish. The biggest impact to expect is on the future US funding for Ukraine.
A new ‘MAGA’ (‘Make America Great Again’!) wave of incoming Republican members to the House of Representatives will make the approval of new funding for Ukraine much more difficult. While a Republican controlled Senate would be more cooperative in Ukraine funding than a GOP-led House, the mood and the tone on Ukraine in the Senate will change as well. Four moderate Republican Senators, who led the US bipartisan initiatives of support for Ukraine, are retiring and at least three of them are likely to be replaced by ‘MAGA’ candidates.
The expectation is that it does not mean that funding will be ceased, but the levels are likely to drop significantly. The direct implication for the EU, and the UK, will certainly exert US pressure on its European allies to massively step up with their financial and military support for Ukraine and -again- to meet their NATO defense spending commitments.
Beyond Ukraine, to expect is a Republican controlled Congress to take a different course on energy that will impact Europe, exerting greater pressure to ratchet up production of the nuclear and fossil fuel energy, doubling down on LNG exports, pushing for more drilling and favourable regulatory acts for gas and oil companies as well as the construction of a gas pipeline infrastructure in the US.
A Republican Congress will continue to criticise President Biden for his climate agenda, however will not have the power to pull the US out of the Paris Accords, participation in which is secured through an executive order. The Republicans need the US Presidency to revoke such an order. What the Republicans can do is make future spending on climate cooperation difficult beyond the funds which have already been secured through the Inflation Reduction Act.
It is clear, that the significance of the result of the US midterm elections, on Tuesday November 8, could be far-reaching for Europe.