8 Apr 2013

Margaret Thatcher’s death: the view from abroad

Margaret Thatcher was a controversial figure at home and abroad. So how has her death been received across the world?

Some of the warmest tributes to Lady Thatcher came from the US, where President Barack Obama called her “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty”, saying America had “lost a true friend”.

The father of two daughters heralded her rise from grocer’s daugher to Britain’s first woman prime minister – “an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered”.

President Obama said she had been a supporter of the “transatlantic alliance” who “knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.”

His predecessor George W Bush hailed her as “a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States”.


Lady Thatcher’s attitudes to Europe during her later years in office strained relations with some of her cabinet ministers.

An example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. Barack Obama

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that while she would be remembered for her contributions to the EU, she was also known for “her reserves about our common project”.

The former Tory leader famously described Mikhail Gorbachev as someone “the west could do business with”. The former Russian president repaid the compliment today, calling her an historic figure.

Lady Thatcher’s most controversial foreign policy initiative was her reaction to the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands.


Mike Summers, from the legislative assembly of the Falkland Islands, said she would be remembered “for her decisiveness in sending a task force to liberate our home following the Argentine invasion in 1982”.

Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, not a political soulmate, tweeted that she was “a transformative figure under whom the United Kingdom registered important progress on the national and international arena”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described her as “a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people”.