Opinion & Analysis

How Europe is preparing for Trump II

The triangle of European concerns over Trump: Democracy, Defence and Trade

The US Presidential elections has cast a shadow over Europe. Although still more than half a year away and with an uncertain outcome, the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House is widely viewed by politicians, officials, experts and the public across Europe as a challenge for international and especially European politics. Many fear that Trump’s transactional, isolationist and disruptive style of governance would not only challenge but destroy the current transatlantic relationship. However, there are also voices that emphasise common ground with Trump on certain foreign and security policy issues, as well as on cultural and “identity” issues. Some, like the Baltic or Central European countries, see themselves in a more comfortable position, prepared to focus on bilateral cooperation, while others, like Germany, are bracing for open verbal attacks from the former and potentially future U.S. president. The consensus among policymakers and experts in these countries is that Trump’s attacks will not remain mere rhetoric, but are more likely to be quickly followed by (disruptive) decisions on foreign, security, economic and climate policy, given that Trump and his team are better prepared than back in 2017-21, both in terms of policy and personnel.


In order to get a better understanding of the different views across the continent, the SWP has brought together experts from 19 different European countries, both inside and outside the EU/NATO, to report on the thinking in their capitals on a potential second Trump presidency. Each were given the following question:

1. If Trump is re-elected, what consequences would your government expect – positive and negative?

2. What areas would be the most affected?

About the Authors: 

Laura von Daniels is the head of the American Research Division at SWP.

Claudia Major is the head of the International Security Research Division at SWP.

Nicolai von Ondarz is the head of the EU Research Division at SWP/



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