President Trump’s election will spur right-wing populism and change the face of Europe

[By Spiegel Staff, Nov. 11, 2016]

THE SURPRISE ELECTION of real estate tycoon and populist Donald J. Trump has thrown establishment politicians in Europe into a state of panic. In Berlin, nobody knows what the U.S. president-elect intends to do. In Brussels, fears are growing he will put wind into the sails of the growing anti-EU populist movement.

Angela Merkel has no lack of experience in dealing with egocentric men. The German chancellor has known Russian President Vladimir Putin for years and she speaks regularly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone.

It’s no wonder then that Merkel wanted to call the new president-elect as quickly as possible on Wednesday.

The only problem was that no one in the German government had a number to call. It was only after the Chancellery in Berlin requested assistance from the German Embassy in Washington that they were able to reach a contact close to Trump.

The election victory of Trump, literally the embodiment of the new wave of angry voters, creates fresh challenges for the German political elite, not just when it comes to the phone directory.

Most leading politicians among both the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) had been convinced that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton would prevail in the election.

Now they are all facing the same difficult question. How do you react when the incoming occupant of the most powerful position in the Western world sees himself as a populist and is threatening to end traditional Western alliances?