Sunday

18th Apr 2021

Trump calls Germans 'bad' but agrees EU trade plan

  • During this conversation, Trump reportedly said Germans were 'very bad', because of their trade surplus with the US (Photo: Council of the European Union)

US president Donald Trump reportedly called Germans “bad, very bad” because of the US' trade deficit with Germany. His comments came even as the European Commission had said that the EU and US would work on a common trade plan.

“The Germans are bad, very bad,” Trump reportedly said during his meeting in Brussels with European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, according to German weekly Der Spiegel.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible! We'll stop that,” the US president added.

Last year, the US had a goods trade deficit with Germany of about €58 billion.

Juncker then intervened to say free trade benefits the US as well, according to Der Spiegel's source.

Since the failure of talks on TTIP, the EU-US free trade agreement, and in the face of the Trump administration's calls for more protectionism, the EU has been stressing the US' interests in good trading relations.

In February, the EU commission chief had already told US vice president Mike Pence that "the US economy is depending more than some in the US think – on the exchanges, the trade volumes ... between the US and the European Union."

"Including Indiana, by the way," he added, referring to Pence's own state – where he had been governor between 2013 and 2017.

According to EU sources, Trump also said the US was concerned that Brexit would destroy jobs in the US.

Trump's reported comments emerged as EU sources said that EU and US leaders agreed to set up a "working group" or "joint action plan" on trade.

Few details about the initiative are known, since both sides will have to form their delegations and define the scope of the talks.

Various EU sources said that the joint group would work on "difficult" bilateral issues, as well as on "global" issues, but suggested that a revival of TTIP talks may not be included.

The White House said in a statement, after the meeting, that the US and the EU "should deepen [their] strong economic relationship and that leaders "discussed the need to protect American and European industries against unfair competition".

After Thursday's meeting, Tusk mentioned trade as one of the “issues [that] remain open”.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

Opinion

Respecting human rights is good business

Trade policy creates economic welfare, but it could also be an unmissable opportunity to protect the environment, human rights and ensure sustainable development across Europe and beyond.

Tusk deplores 'too many leaks' in Brussels

The European Council president has denounced a “culture of permanent leaks” after Trump's comments in his EU meeting were published in Germany.

News in Brief

  1. EU postpones decision on labelling gas 'sustainable'
  2. MEPs call for mass surveillance ban in EU public spaces
  3. Greek and Turkish ministers trade jibes in Ankara
  4. Biden repeats opposition to Russia-Germany pipeline
  5. Navalny in danger, letter warns EU foreign ministers
  6. Lithuania keen to use Denmark's AstraZeneca vaccines
  7. Gas plants largest source of power-sector emissions
  8. Study: Higher risk of blood clots from Covid than vaccines

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. US rejects Slovenia-linked plan to break up Bosnia
  2. Ukraine urges Borrell to visit Russia front line
  3. Could US sanctions hit Russia vaccine sales to EU?
  4. Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman
  5. Political crises in Romania and Bulgaria amid third wave
  6. Von der Leyen's summer plans undisclosed, after Ukraine snub
  7. Over a million EU citizens back farm-animal cage ban
  8. Three options for West on Putin's Ukraine build-up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us