If you want to know what continental European power elites are thinking, you'll need to read an English magazine — The Economist.* Unsurprisingly, their editors have just endorsed Barack Obama:
There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama’s résumé is thin for the world’s biggest job. But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and outfought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.
Political fire, far from rattling Mr Obama, seems to bring out the best in him: the furore about his (admittedly ghastly) preacher prompted one of the most thoughtful speeches of the campaign. On the financial crisis his performance has been as assured as Mr McCain’s has been febrile. He seems a quick learner and has built up an impressive team of advisers, drawing in seasoned hands like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well.
* I've often wondered about The Economist's almost-eerie influence in mainland Europe. You'd think that a continent with millions of highly intelligent, fluent English-speakers living on it would have been able to produce some competition for The Economist by now, especially since one of The Economist's favorite pastimes is to poke fun at continental-European stuffiness, conservatism, and bureausclerosis (thus, hypothetically, opening up room for a more "respectful" competitor mag which "understands European values").
But no, there's no competition. I think there are several reasons for this.
First, lots of Europeans read The Economist to improve their English – they know it's being written by native speakers with gold-plated resumes.
Second, the touchiness and cronyism that prevails in European elite circles ensures that no Europe-based magazine could be long successful if it took so many potshots at European pretensions. Eventually, you'd piss off too many cabinet ministers or diplomats, and they'd stop talking to you. The Economist can get away with taking the piss out of European elites precisely because its isn't plugged into European insider networks. In fact, Europeans love it precisely for this reason.
Third, any European version of The Economist would probably soon clog up with hopelessly dull, jargon-laden thumb-suckers on the "neoliberal subject" or some such, written by a philosophy professor from some university you've never heard of – but who happens to be some editor's second cousin, or dissertation adviser.