Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

EU foreign ministers discuss Trump fallout

  • EU foreign policy chief Mogherini (c) invited EU foreign ministers to discuss US relations (Photo: The European Union)

EU foreign ministers over the weekend discussed US relations amid fears president-elect Donald Trump will unwind Amercia’s previous global commitments.

The crisis meeting in Brussels on Sunday (13 November) was called in the wake of Trump’s surprise victory and ahead of a regular ministers’ meeting on Monday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The US election outcome appears to have emboldened anti-establishment movements in Europe and sowed doubt over a broad range of previous US accords on climate change, Nato mutual defence, and the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after Sunday’s dinner that "values, principles, interests" will continue to form the basis of the transatlantic partnership.

"We are looking forward to a very strong partnership with the next administration," she said.

But Boris Johnson, the UK's foreign minister, did not attend. France's Jean-Marc Ayrault sent an envoy due to a scheduling conflict. Hungary's pro-Trump prime minister Viktor Orban also kept his top foreign envoy at home.

EU leaders are worried the US will weaken Nato, given Trump’s campaign threats to not defend alliance members who don't pay their dues. The possibility has piled on additional pressure for EU states to budget at least 2 percent of their GDP on military spending as required under Nato rules.

"The United States currently accounts for almost 70 percent of Nato defence spending, and has rightly called for a more equitable sharing of the burden," said Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg in an opinion article in The Observer ahead of the ministerial meeting.

The Trump fallout and UK plans to the leave the European Union have also spurred talks of forming a military union among the remaining EU states.

Last week, Germany's defence minister Ursula von der Leyen urged Europeans to find the political will for more security policy.

Trump's overtures towards Russia could imperil economic sanctions against a nation that recently annexed the Crimea in Ukraine. The Kremlin is already drawing parallels on issues that align with a US presidential administration under Trump.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian parliament, on Sunday told Russian television that a Trump presidency could "radically change" relations between the two nations.

Mogherini maintained that the EU stand on the Russian annexation is not going to change, "regardless of possible shifts in others' policies".

Iran and climate change

Trump has also threatened to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran and repeal a Paris climate agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Trump's transition team is reportedly drawing up plans to withdraw from the climate pact.

"For us, it’s extremely important to work on the climate-change agreement implementation but also on non-proliferation and the protection of the Iranian nuclear deal," said Mogherini.

The shift towards greater defence cooperation among EU states will be further discussed by foreign ministers on Monday.

The stark absence of foreign ministers from Britain and Hungary on Sunday is a signal that rifts are already beginning to emerge on EU and US relations.

Johnson had earlier urged his counterparts to end their “collective whinge-o-rama" on the Trump election.

The UK is also seeing an opportunity to shape stronger trade ties with the US following Brexit.

Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said the Sunday ministerial gathering was "completely premature". Szijjarto also described statements by some EU leaders on the Trump win as "frustrated and hysterical".

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security