Tuesday

17th Sep 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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. German top lawmaker scolds Bettel over Johnson snub
  2. Greens decide on Tuesday on talks on Five Star joining
  3. Belgian mayors give Juncker a tongue-lashing
  4. Von der Leyen defends 'way of life' slogan
  5. Court hears case on UK's pre-Brexit parliament shutdown
  6. Nato rings alarm on Gulf 'escalation'
  7. Luxembourg mockery of British leader sparks 'anger'
  8. Majority of Belgians against excluding Vlaams Belang

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  2. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing
  3. Trumpworld In Europe
  4. How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires
  5. Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal
  6. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  7. EU divided on how to protect rule of law
  8. Nordic region to become world's most sustainable and integrated

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us