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Trump putting European Union in tough spot

01 February 2017
Trump putting European Union in tough spot

The former Polish prime minister said in the wake of the Brexit vote the European Union faced "three threats" that made the 28-nation bloc's situation "more risky than ever before".

In a letter to national leaders before a summit that he will chair in Malta on Friday to prepare the Union's future after Britain leaves, the conservative former Polish prime minister said Trump's more protectionist trade policy offered the EU a chance and it should do more now to set up free trade deals.

In an interview with the Times the US President indicated he was indifferent whether the European Union bloc remains together or split.

Leaders in Brussels have been particularly concerned that Trump has supported Brexit and spoken of other countries following Britain out of the bloc. Part of the president's resentment toward the European Union seems to stem from a failed attempt to build a golf course on the Irish coastline (an anecdote the president often tells, omitting the environmental reasons Irish authorities provided when not granting him planning permission).

His opinions reflect the growing feeling in several European capitals that there has to be a reaction against Trump's policies, especially the ban on the admission of refugees and citizens from seven mostly-Muslim states.

Tusk believes that the EU is now facing a threat unprecedented since the since the signature of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which founded the European Economic Community, EU's predecessor.

But he warned that European-American ties were still essential for the future. Therefore, let us have the courage to be proud of our own achievements, which have made our continent the best place on Earth.

Tusk later met with the heads of E.U. Baltic member states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania where he again emphasized the need for Europeans to come together against their foes, including Trump.

The European Council president also listed an "assertive China" and "Russia's aggressive polic [ies]" also other global woes facing the EU. We can not surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the Transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace can not survive.

The letter continued: "We should remind our American friends of their own motto: United we stand, divided we fall".