European Council slams Washington’s ‘worrying’ statements

January 31, 2017 9:05 pm

flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (File photo)

The European Council president has criticized “worrying” statements by the US administration under President Donald Trump, describing Washington’s new stances as threatening.
In a Tuesday letter to leaders ahead of a summit in Malta, Donald Tusk urged the bloc’s members to boost trade with other nations against the backdrop of increasing US isolationism.
“Today, we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale. The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around ,” the letter said.
“An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s … policy towards Ukraine and its neighbors, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa … as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable,” Tusk added.
“Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation, with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” the letter noted.
Tusk pointed to the rise in anti-EU nationalism and the “state of mind of the pro-European elites” as the second and third challenges facing the bloc, respectively.
All 28 EU leaders are scheduled to meet in Malta on Friday to discuss, among other things, the refugee crisis and Britain’s exit from the bloc.

European Union Council President Donald Tusk speaks to reporters at the EU Council building in Brussels on December 15, 2016 (Photo by AFP).

On Thursday, the eurozone’s top official Jeroen Dijsselbloem voiced concern over Trump’s policies and urged the EU members to use the potential loss of American partnership as an opportunity to strengthen the bloc’s single currency.
“I have made my mind up that in the coming years we are on our own, which may be a good thing. Maybe that is what Europe needs – to really work together in a better and more productive way, to sort out its own problems, to strengthen its own economic balance, its own defense situation,” said Dijsselbloem.   
Trump’s likely choice as the US envoy to the EU, Ted Malloch, warned this week that euro “could collapse” in the next 18 months.
The new US president has formerly praised Britain’s vote to leave the EU, and called for reforming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military coalition bringing together many of the countries in Europe.
Trump has said NATO is “obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago” and that “because it wasn’t taking care of terror.”
Most EU officials have been disconcerted by the remarks of the US president, who has never served in a government or diplomatic post. The officials intend to keep what they see as European unity by preventing other member states from leaving the bloc or the eurozone.
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