Monday

19th Aug 2019

Wannabe US envoy calls EU a 'failure'

  • 'Get used to him" Malloch told Europe on Trump (Photo: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

America’s interests are not served by a more federal Europe, but by an EU of strong nation states, a man who wants to be the next US ambassador to the EU has said.

Ted Malloch, an academic and adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, who says he is in line for the Brussels post, spoke at the Open Europe think tank in Brussels on Tuesday (23 May) – two days before Trump's visit to the Belgian capital, where he is to meet Nato and EU leaders.

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  • Malloch was interviewed by Trump's transition team for the EU ambassador job and two other posts, he said (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Malloch claimed that the EU has become more anti-democratic and anti-American.

“The failure of the present EU integration project is becoming more and more self-apparent, it is something Churchill and Roosevelt would have questioned,” he said, referring to the British and US WWII-era leaders, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Malloch said Europe should “look for answers” among “nation states” and “not to a project of further integration”.

He said people in other member states wanted to follow the UK in leaving the EU.

He said that anti-Americanism was a strong factor in European culture and policymaking.

He also accused the EU institutions of targeting US firms such as Microsoft with anti-trust probes because they threatened European business interests.

Malloch said the US wanted the EU to succeed despite all that, but only as a trade bloc.

“The US should … encourage more trade and make firm its opposition to any kind of federal Europe, by saying a definite No to a future euro government, single government, all powerful, centralised,” he said.

He also harangued the EU institutions, using the rhetoric of populist politicians in Europe.

“The cure to Europe’s calamity is genuine democracy, government by the people, not by unelected bureaucrats, as expert members of the EU commission, unaccountable to any parliament. Such a globalist elite [and] intended superstructure is detached from the people and therefore entirely anti-European,” he said.

Who is he anyway?

It is hard to say how much access Malloch has to Trump and whether he really has a chance of getting the EU ambassador job.

He has nominated himself for the post and said he was interviewed for it in Trump Tower in New York on two occasions, as well as being vetted for it by Trump’s team in other meetings.

He said in Brussels on Tuesday that he had “many contacts" in the White House.

The controversial academic has been accused by the Financial Times, a British newspaper, of exaggerating his professional credentials.

The big political groups in the European Parliament also urged the European Commission and the Council of the EU to stymie his US ambassador ambition after he compared the EU to the Soviet Union in remarks in February.

Malloch, on Tuesday, dismissed the FT’s detailed report as “fake news”.

He also dismissed his Soviet Union jibe as a “late night television comedic” moment and said people in Washington saw him as a “europhile”.

He showed signs of closeness to the EU’s far-right enemies, however.

At the start of his remarks on Tuesday, Malloch waved to a Romanian MEP, Laurentiu Rebega, in the audience, who hailed from the the same far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group as the French far-right populist, Marine Le Pen.

Malloch also said he did not know what Trump would discuss with EU leaders on Thursday as he had not taken part in preparations for the meeting.

Trump expectations

Expectations were low ahead of Trump’s maiden visit to the EU capital for the Nato summit.

Allies are hoping to win over the prickly US leader, who has in the past flip-flopped on Nato, calling it both “obsolete” and “very important”.

Experts cautioned against anticipating a clear EU or Nato policy from Trump this week.

"I don’t expect a lot from the meeting, Trump changes his opinion very quickly depending on whom sees last,” Daniel Gros, the director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a think tank in Brussels, said at the Brussels Business Forum on Tuesday.

"If he sees Europeans together, he’ll say: “It is a nice group, why don’t you stay together?’,” Gros said, referring to Trump’s previous pro-Brexit comments.

Gros added that Europe has accepted it must pay more for its own defence – one of Trump’s more consistent policies.

Malloch predicted that Trump will tell Nato allies on Thursday: "If Europeans are willing to help pay for it, let’s go full speed ahead with Nato”.

Gros said Trump might be ambivalent on sanctions against Russia, amid an ongoing US probe into allegations of his shady Kremlin ties.

Malloch said that if Moscow and Washington talked more they could solve more of the world’s problems.

He also said Europe and Nato allies should get used to Trump’s “style”.

"He has a different style as a politician,” Malloch said.

“The rest of the world will probably need to get used to him, whether that means shorter meetings or certain personality disorders, or characterisations, this is simply the fact,” he said.

Correction: The article incorrectly referred to US WWII-era leader "Theodore Roosevelt", rather than Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the president during World War 2. The article was corrected on 24 May

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