Draft summit conclusions declare rejection of protectionism
Paris agreement can’t be renegotiated, leaders to say
European Union leaders are planning to use a summit next week to declare their commitment to global free trade and the Paris climate accord in a rebuff to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The bloc’s 28 leaders will issue a statement rejecting protectionism and underlining that the Paris agreement is a “cornerstone for global efforts to effectively tackle climate change, and cannot be renegotiated,” according to a draft for the June 22-23 summit obtained by Bloomberg.
“The EU is strongly committed to free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment,” the draft conclusions, dated June 12, say. “The EU will keep its markets open and fight protectionism by pushing for the removal of all trade-distorting practices.”
The EU has been angered by Trump’s “America First” economic policy and his rejection of global free trade, as well his decision earlier this month to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate pact, which he claimed favors other nations at the expense of American workers.
‘Fair Trade Conditions’
Trump’s trip to Europe in May, during which he failed to explicitly support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s collective defense policy, criticized allies over military spending spending and said Germany is “very bad” for flooding the U.S. with cars, damaged U.S.-Europe relations and angered leaders. At a Group of Seven summit in Sicily, passages on free trade and immigration were substantially altered compared with previous years.
“We try to be very polite and we know that we need a close cooperation with the United States as much as possible but it’s not only for us to decide,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg. “We are totally convinced that the better the cooperation and the relations with the United States, the better for Europe, for the world as well; we think also the better for the United States.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel used a speech last month to bemoan Trump’s trade policies, referring to “a whole series of protectionist tendencies” emerging worldwide. “It’s necessary to be open to achieve fair trade conditions,” she said.
In another sign of the EU’s increasing belief that it can’t rely on the U.S., leaders will declare the bloc’s commitment to working together to “develop its common security and defense.” While underlining cooperation with NATO, leaders will demand strengthened EU coordination, according to the draft. The conclusions are subject to revision.
The EU’s 27 leaders without U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a separate meeting during the summit to discuss the latest Brexit developments following the British general election that saw May return to office without a parliamentary majority.
— With assistance by Arne Delfs, Patrick Donahue, and Jennifer A Dlouhy