Donald v. Donald: Trump’s ‘Worrying’ Words an EU Risk, Tusk Says

  • EU president says bloc in ‘difficult situation’ with Trump
  • Europe’s future ‘unpredictable’ with new U.S. administration

Transatlantic Relations in a 'Brittle' State: Burns

Donald Trump’s pronouncements in his first week as U.S. president are creating instability for the European Union at a time when the 28-nation bloc is facing the most dire threats in its six-decade history, EU President Donald Tusk said.

“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,” Tusk told EU leaders in a letter on Tuesday. An “assertive China,” a more aggressive Russia, terrorism and “worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable,” he said.

In addition to saying that Brexit would be good for the U.K., Trump predicted in an interview with European newspapers earlier this month that other EU nations would follow Britain out of the bloc. Trump, who was sworn in on Friday, has questioned the efficacy of sanctions against Russia and has described the 67-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organization as obsolete. European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have vowed to maintain EU unity in the face of the new president’s “America First” agenda.

In the letter to EU heads of state and government ahead of a summit on Friday, Tusk also warned member countries against anti-EU sentiment, saying the disintegration of the bloc wouldn’t lead to full sovereignty for nations but would force their “real and factual” dependence on the U.S., Russia and China. 

Tusk also saw a potential bright spot for the EU in Trump’s early endeavors -- a chance to expand commerce in the midst of protectionist trends.

“We should use the change in the trade strategy of the U.S. to the EU’s advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time,” Tusk said. “The European Union should not abandon its role as a trade superpower.”

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