Monday

12th Nov 2018

EU head calls Trump a 'threat' to Europe

  • Tusk repeated his Trump warning in Tallinn (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Donald Tusk, the symbolic head of the EU, has described US president Donald Trump as a “threat” to Europe alongside Russia and China.

He said in an open letter on Tuesday (31 January) that “worrying declarations by the new American administration”, as well as China’s maritime assertiveness, Russian aggression, and Middle Eastern conflicts “all make our future highly unpredictable.”

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

  • Trump has sowed division inside and outside the US in his first week in office (Photo: whitehouse.gov)

“So many are becoming openly anti-European”, he said, adding: “Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy”.

Tusk’s letter was addressed to the 27 EU leaders who will meet in Malta on Friday to discuss what the EU should do in reaction to Brexit.

It came out one day after Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian PM and a leading MEP, said that Trump was a "third front undermining the European Union" alongside Russia and Islamist terrorism.

The French and German leaders have also criticised Trump, with French president Francois Hollande saying prior to Trump's election that Trump made him want to vomit.

Trump, who took up office one week ago, has said he expected other member states to leave the EU and has called Nato “obsolete”.

He has also lent support to anti-EU populists such as British MEP Nigel Farage and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who now chairs EU summits, said the rise of “nationalist egoism” inside the EU and a “decline of faith in political integration” in what he called “the pro-European elites” also posed threats.

He said the EU should react to “words and … decisions aimed against the EU” with a “European pride”.

“We must stand up very clearly for … the dignity of a united Europe - regardless of whether we are talking to Russia, China, the US or Turkey,” he said.

He said Europe was “the best place on Earth” and that “the times of European unity have been the best times in all of Europe's centuries-long history”.

He also called it a “trade superpower”.

He warned that if the EU disbanded it “would not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China.”

He said the Malta summit would yield “an ambitious declaration” on unity and that it would lead to “assertive and spectacular steps” on issues such as the migration crisis.

He added that one of those would be to secure Italy’s borders against migrants coming from Libya.

“Flows are at a record level, too many people die while trying to reach Europe, and spring is approaching fast,” he said.

Tusk repeated his Trump threat assessment after a meeting with the leaders of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia in Tallinn also on Tuesday.

The Baltic leaders did not mention Trump, but did call for Nato and “transatlantic” unity in the face of Russia’s menacing behaviour in a brief press conference.

Estonian prime minister Juri Ratas said he had spoken to Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko amid reports that a flare-up in fighting with Russia’s proxy forces killed eight more people this week.

Latvia’s Maris Kucinskis said Russia posed “a real challenge” and called for European countries to increase their defence spending.

Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis called for EU states to negotiate as one with the UK on Brexit and said Baltic states should reduce their energy dependence on Russia.

US picks new fight with Merkel

The new US administration has once again antagonised Germany, this time by accusing it of currency manipulation.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit Britain cannot rely on Trump's trade vows

Theresa May came away from her meeting with Donald Trump bearing the promise of a future UK-US trade pact. The pledge was rich in symbolism, but not much else.

News in Brief

  1. UK seeks swift use of new EU chemical weapons blacklist
  2. Barnier briefs EU ministers: intense negotiations continue
  3. Romanian minister preparing EU presidency steps down
  4. Finland says Russia possibly behind GPS jamming
  5. German AfD leader under fire for Swiss campaign funding
  6. Seehofer announces he will step down as CSU party leader
  7. EU condemns elections in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine
  8. German Greens pick two top candidates for EU election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romanian leaders trade jibes over upcoming EU presidency
  2. EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press
  3. EU 'Magnitsky Act' must bear its proper name
  4. Fear of nationalist surge marks European memorials
  5. Liberals ally with Macron for election, but no candidate yet
  6. Revealed: Link between MEPs CO2 votes and domestic car jobs
  7. All Quiet on the Eastern Front?
  8. Merkel and Brexit in spotlight This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us